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Summary for 1020 NE 50th ST NE / Parcel ID 6746701655 / Inv # SFD009

Historic Name: Fire Station No. 17 Common Name:
Style: Art Deco, Art Deco - Streamline Moderne, Other Neighborhood: University
Built By: Year Built: 1930
 
Significance
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
Completed in 1930, this fire station located in the University District is the largest of the city’s older neighborhood fire stations. The two-story reinforced concrete building has four engine bays and a five-story drill tower. The design of this structure is also unique for its mixture of Art Deco, Art Moderne and Neo-Classical Revival stylistic features. The architect is not known at this time, however the prominent Seattle architect Daniel R. Huntington may have been involved with the design. Huntington had designed three other smaller fire stations completed between 1928 and 1930. This masonry building replaced an earlier wood-frame fire station located five blocks to the south. In 1905, the original two-story wood frame Fire Station No. 17 had been constructed at Roosevelt Way NE and NE 45th Street. A single story wing containing a third apparatus bay was added to the south side of the station in 1914. This station was one of nine fire stations that were built between 1894 and 1908 using a similar design, including the original 1905 Fire Station No. 16 located near Green Lake. Until the completion of Fire Station No. 38 in 1930, Fire Stations No. 16 and 17 served the entire northeast area of the city. At the time, this included the neighborhoods south of NE 65th Street and west of 20th Avenue NE. In 1891, the city annexed the central portion of North Seattle up to 85th Street. At the end of the previous year, developer James A. Moore, in partnership with the Clise Investment Company, had platted the future University District as the Brooklyn Addition. By mid-1891, the area had streetcar service from downtown Seattle via the nearby Latona neighborhood. However, little development occurred until after the University of Washington moved its campus from the downtown commercial district to its present location in 1895. The pace of development accelerated after the turn of the twentieth century, especially after James Moore platted the University Park Addition in 1906, and the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition was held on the university’s grounds in 1909. With the annexations of Ravenna in 1907 and Laurelhurst in 1910, the northeast area of the city grew substantially although residential and commercial development did not really begin until the later 1910s and early 1920s. This extensive service area, which included the University of Washington, may have influenced the design of Fire Station No. 17, resulting in a substantially larger building compared to the other neighborhood fire stations. Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1871, Daniel R. Huntington practiced in Denver and New York before his arrival in Seattle in 1904 or 1905. Over the course of his career, Huntington worked in private practice and in partnership with several other prominent Seattle architects, including James H. Schack, Carl F. Gould, and Arthur L. Loveless, in addition to his position as Seattle City Architect from 1912 to 1921. During his career as city architect and later, Huntington designed more than ten fire stations and possibly as many as twenty. After the onset of the Depression in the 1930s, Huntington apparently left active practice, although he was known to have been in the employ of Washington State University from 1944 to 1946. Well regarded by his business associates and professional colleagues for his straightforward and elegantly detailed commissions, Huntington designed a wide variety of civic, commercial, residential and institutional buildings during his prolific career. This fire station is significant for its design and for its associations with the development of the Seattle Fire Department and the University District.
 
Appearance
Completed in 1930, this large reinforced concrete building faces south and occupies a large corner lot on NE 50th Street at 11th Avenue NE. The two and three-story flat roof building is comprised of three sections, creating an irregular footprint. The main three-story block measures 54 feet square and has a rooftop penthouse situated towards the rear. A two-story wing extends from the east elevation and measures 12 feet by 38 feet. This wing has a one-story entrance block on its south elevation, which measures 5 feet by 12 feet. A three-story wing extends from the rear north elevation and measures 37 feet by 19 feet. The five-story drill tower at the northwest corner of the building measures 13 feet by 14 feet. A smooth stucco exterior covers the building, which rests on a wide concrete base and features as unique mixture of Art Deco, Art Moderne and Neo-Classical Revival stylistic features. Distinctive engaged columns with tapered capitals frame the principal south elevation. Plain concrete bands embellish the recessed corners of the main block and give the impression of pilasters. This detail is repeated on the building’s other corners, including the corners of the two wings and the drill tower, as well as along the east and west elevations. Four sets of double doors line the first floor level under a flat roof, which extends the length of the facade. These pairs of doors, which have heavy strap hinges, appear to be the originals. The second story level contains four windows centered above the door openings below. The top story has a long band of windows across the center flanked by two smaller windows on either end of the elevation. On the east elevation, the small entrance block has a single entrance door on the southern side and a window centered on the eastern side above a driveway, which leads to double doors at the basement level. Low concrete walls topped by decorative railings flank this driveway. The two-story wing is aligned with the main block on the rear north elevation. Both the first and second stories of the wing’s east elevation have a wide window at the center flanked by narrower windows on either side. The side elevations have single windows at each level. The main block has a single window at the southern end of the second story located below a long band of windows at the top story. Two small windows are situated at the far northern end of the top story. The west elevation has a similar window configuration at the third floor level. The engine bay at the front of the building has a large window opening with multi-paned windows. The northern end of the west elevation has a single band of windows at the first and second story levels. The rear north elevation of the main block has a small window at the top level above larger windows at the lower stories. The rear wing has entrance doors on the east and north elevations, however it appears that the original window openings have been filled with concrete. The extant concrete sills indicate the original locations of the windows. The five-story drill tower at the northwest corner has a single entrance door at the base of the west elevation. A fire escape extends the length of the west elevation with balconies at each window. Well maintained, this distinctive building retains good physical integrity.

Detail for 1020 NE 50th ST NE / Parcel ID 6746701655 / Inv # SFD009

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Government - Fire Station Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Politics/Government/Law
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Seattle Fire Department, Centennial Commemorative, 1889-1989. Portland, OR: Taylor Pub. Co., c1989.

Photo collection for 1020 NE 50th ST NE / Parcel ID 6746701655 / Inv # SFD009


Photo taken Nov 12, 2000
App v2.0.1.0