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Summary for 527 Eastlake AVE / Parcel ID 0209000075 / Inv #

Historic Name: Carolina Court (Apartment House for Claude C. Ramsay, Esq.) Common Name: Carolina Court
Style: Beaux Arts - Neoclassical, Colonial - Federal Revival Neighborhood: Cascade
Built By: Year Built: 1916
 
Significance
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
Carolina Court was completed in 1915 from drawings by architect John A. Creutzer. It was commissioned by “Claude C. Ramsay, Esquire,” who was a prominent Seattle businessman at the time and is described in Clarence Bagley’s History of King County. Claude Ramsay was born at Palermo, his father’s plantation in Rowan County, North Carolina and received his early education in that state. He later pursued the “business course” at the Eastman School of Business in Poughkeepsie, New York. He arrived in Seattle in 1889 and by 1900 had opened his own insurance business. He was also heavily involved in real estate. Carolina Court, which he both built and owned, seems to have been one of his most famous commissions. He was also associated with both the development of aeronautics and the early development of the “highways of Washington,” thanks to his “labors in the legislature of 1907.” Carolina Court was designed to house all the latest amenities and was apparently seen by Claude Ramsay and architect John Creutzer as providing a particularly salubrious and “whole” environment. It was designed with a garden parterre in the courtyard and its own park, tennis court and children’s playground for the use of its tenants. “Here you have the attractions of a beautiful home, with all the convenience and comfort of a first class hotel,” read an advertisement of the period. Carolina Court had all the cutting edge amenities of its day: private telephone, large bathrooms, “most improved gas ranges, ice and cooling chests,” “large stationary vacuum cleaner system,” steam heat, gas, electric lights, basement storage space for each apartment and a well lit laundry. Purportedly, the design of Carolina Court was based on extensive research into the design of apartment buildings in the United States and abroad. It is thought to have inspired later apartment building designs in the City of Seattle. Architecturally, the design was an ambitious one. Its detailing is careful and the original drawings suggest more of a Beaux Arts influence than is currently seen in the building today. Except for the loss of outdoor amenities, and a more ornate parapet, the building’s appearance seems virtually unchanged since it was built. It has an imposing presence, particularly along Eastlake and is part of an early residential/business district that began to take shape in the 600, 500 and 400 block in the by 1906 and into the 1910s and of which there are still many extant structures. John A. Creutzer was born in Sweden and came to the United States as a child. He lived first in Minnesota, then moved to Spokane, Washington and then to Seattle. He was well established as an architect in Seattle from 1909 to 1929, according to an American Institute of Architects Newsletter, dated from 1929, which included his obituary. Extant illustrations of his work at Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Washington show examples of buildings in the Gothic Revival, Colonial Revival and Beaux Arts styles and a fine eye. His most well-known extant buildings, aside from Carolina Court, are the Medical- Dental Building in downtown Seattle, which he designed with A. H. Albertson and the Vista Apartments near Cowen Park.
 
Appearance
From Eastlake, this is an imposing three story U shaped building with a basement level and a flat roof with parapet. The building is distinctive because of its courtyard and the major and minor classically inspired entries to the building off this courtyard. Other striking elements include: its brick cladding with wood detailing, including the double brackets below the overhang of the roof and the frequent bays which punctuate the exterior walls on the east, north and south. The major entry to the building consists of paired Doric columns supporting an architrave, with engaged pilasters at the back. Above the main entry is long variation on a Venetian window: It is divided into three, with a relatively flat segmental arch topping the central portion of the window. The central window itself is subdivided by mullions, both vertically and in the horizontal direction at the top and the bottom of the window. Added flourish and delicacy are created by the curved mullion at the top of the central window, which follows the curve of the arch above. Each side entry consists of a lower engaged pediment and architrave supported by a single Doric column at each side. Due to the change of grade from east to west, on the western elevation, the “basement level” seen on the Eastlake elevation is not only above grade, but there is yet another level above grade, so that five levels are visible.

Detail for 527 Eastlake AVE / Parcel ID 0209000075 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Other
Building Type: Domestic - Multiple Family Plan: U-Shape
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Community Planning/Development
Integrity
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
“Claude Clinton Ramsay,” in Clarence Bagley, History of King County, Vol. 2, Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1929, 322-331.
John A. Creutzer Files, Architects’ Files, Manuscripts and Special Collections, Suzzallo Library, University of Washington.

Photo collection for 527 Eastlake AVE / Parcel ID 0209000075 / Inv #


Photo taken Oct 08, 2003

Photo taken Oct 08, 2003
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