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Summary for 4851 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702900805 / Inv #

Historic Name: Rector's Common Name:
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Columbia City
Built By: Year Built: 1911
This building was constructed in the spring of 1912 at a cost of $4000. It is described on the building permit as a two story frame store and office building. The second story was residential. The building was originally owned by S.R. Orvis. Dewitt S. Orvis had a small temporary real estate sales office on the site prior to the construction of the subject building. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Thompson and Thompson, who were active in Seattle from 1898 through 1936. Charles L. Thompson and C. Bennett Thompson were responsible for many mid-size apartment buildings, hotels, commercial buildings, churches and synagogues as well as some private homes in this period of booming construction in the neighborhoods of Seattle. This mixed-use commercial/residential building has been occupied by a number of neighborhood businesses through the years. Early occupants included Phelps Mortuary, Taylor and Burkhart Grocery and Rector’s Menswear, owned by Harold Rector. The building has undergone at least four storefront remodels, in 1926, 1932 and 1947. The most drastic occurred in 1957, when the bracketed wooden cornice and window surrounds were removed and the upper story was covered with asphalt shingle. The clapboard siding on the first story was covered with stucco at that time. The commercial building at 4851-53 Rainier Avenue S. is historically significant as an early and visually prominent mixed use building in the historic district. It was designed by the Seattle architectural firm of Thompson and Thompson, a firm which designed a number of mixed use buildings in Seattle neighborhoods in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Although cosmetically altered, this building retains the original form and storefront configuration.
This two story commercial vernacular building is of frame construction and is supported by a concrete foundation. The building has a rectangular plan and a flat roof. A simple cornice was removed in 1957 when the building was resided with asbestos cladding. The building also features three solid brick piers with brick veneer, and glazed tile below the storefront windows. The fenestration consists of evenly spaced one-over-one single hung windows; the windows appear to be original. The storefront has undergone many alterations, but retains the original glazed tile siding beneath the windows. In the late 1960s the single store was divided into two storefronts. The building currently has two storefronts; each entrance is inset and flanked by large windows. The original canopy shades the front elevation. The storefront originally featured transom windows below a simple cornice; the cornice has been removed and the transom windows have been covered.

Detail for 4851 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702900805 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Ceramic tile, Stone, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Square
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Centennial History, Columbia City, Rainier Valley, 1853-1991, Pioneers of Columbia City. Seattle, Washington, 1992.
Architects file cards, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Historic Preservation Program, 700 3rd Avenue, Suite 400, Seattle, WA, 98104.
Architects Reference Files, Special Collections and Preservation Division, Allen Library, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, Washington, 98195-2900.
Dietz, Duane. “Architects and Landscape Architects of Seattle, 1876-1959,” unpublished manuscript, July, 1993, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.

Photo collection for 4851 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702900805 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 22, 2004
App v2.0.1.0