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Summary for 625 1st AVE / Parcel ID 8591400060 / Inv #

Historic Name: K & R Building/ Pioneer Office Equipment Common Name: Emerald City Building
Style: Beaux Arts - Neoclassical, Commercial Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1905
 
Significance
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
According to King County Tax Assessor’s Records, the building was completed in 1908, however it appears consistently on Baist’s Maps as the “K & R Building” from 1905 onward. It adjoined the now demolished Starr-Boyd Building, designed by Elmer Fisher and completed in 1890. While the present building’s storefront was somewhat modernized in the 1960s and then in 1982 by architect R. L. Stasny and Harvey Dodd and Associates Engineers, the important elements of the main façade and the somewhat loopy but rich, ornamental detailing remain. This building façade was constructed at a time of explosive growth in the Pioneer Square area and in Seattle in general. The building was, and is, similar in scale and shares a similar history with 627 First Avenue, which unfortunately lost most of the original elements of its façade, in addition to several floors. The architectural vestiges, now forming part of this building, both the ornamental features attached to the eastern façade and the north wall, are most likely remains of Elmer Fisher’s Starr-Boyd Building. In addition, the western back wall may date from a period closer to the Fire of 1889, although no records prove this. In any case, the 1908 façade and the vestiges of the earlier adjoining building form an intriguing ensemble, significant in the context of the district.
 
Appearance
This two story building has a main east façade with a double height storefront level, topped by a projecting cornice, which is now painted. At each side of the façade are tall ionic columns, which rise almost to the top of the building, just underneath a masonry parapet wall, recessed behind it. The second level above the storefront, is topped by a horizontal element, which is curved in profile and then flattens out at the level above the capitals. This band runs the length of the façade between the capitals and is adorned with repeated circular ring shapes. Of interest are the thin piers, which are concave in profile and ornamented with a running pattern of interlinked circular and floral shapes. These piers are further topped by less delicate ornaments, original in style, that look like volutes seen from the side. Rising from these ornaments and the curved section of the horizontal element (more an ornamental lintel, it seems, than a real lintel) above the columns are acanthus leaf shapes. According to historic photos and records, the building was originally a 4 story building. Despite this, it retains some striking and significant architectural detail. The many coats of paint sometimes make it difficult to identify the materials used in the façade, although the main ornamental metal elements and the masonry above the ornamented facade are easily identifiable. The back western wall is of red brick and has single segmental arched openings, typical of buildings erected in the district right after the Fire of 1889. The south wall, perhaps an original party wall shared with the Starr-Boyd Building, is also of red brick and appears to be from the same period as the western wall. Also of interest is what appears to be an ornamental vestige of the Starr-Boyd Building, adjoining the main facade: a cast-iron pier, topped by short columns with cushion capitals, decorated with running floral motifs, surmounted by a portion of brick wall with terra cotta ornamentation. These elements are now part of 625 First Avenue.

Detail for 625 1st AVE / Parcel ID 8591400060 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Metal, Stone - Cast, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Conservation
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Intact
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Baist Map of 1905, 1908 and 1912

Photo collection for 625 1st AVE / Parcel ID 8591400060 / Inv #


Photo taken Oct 26, 2004

Photo taken Oct 26, 2004
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