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Summary for 102 Occidental WAY / Parcel ID 5247800555 / Inv #

Historic Name: Seattle National Bank Building/ "Pacific Block"/ "Smith Tower Annex" Common Name: Interurban Building
Style: Queen Anne - Richardsonian Romanesque Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1892
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
Currently called the Interurban Building, the former Seattle National Bank Building was designed by Parkinson and Evers in 1890-92, as a result of a competition. John Parkinson is credited as the designer, since in 1890, when a rendering of the building appeared in American Architect and Building News, the Parkinson and Evers partnership was already dissolved. His name also appears on a stone plaque on the building. William Rankin Ballard (1847-1929), a prominent Seattle business leader who in 1883 also founded the new town of Ballard, (now a neighborhood of Seattle proper), commissioned the building for the newly formed Seattle National Bank. Ballard and the Seattle National Bank investors wanted the building to be the finest business block in Seattle. The building shows the influence of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. An April 30, 1890 Seattle Post-Intelligencer article wrote: “The exterior of the building will be Romanesque in style and nothing but pressed brick, stone and terra cotta will be used. The corner will be rounded and the whole building will present as fine an appearance as any other building in the Northwest.” The Seattle National Bank/ Interurban Building is indeed one of the finest examples of buildings erected in the “burnt district” after the Fire of 1889. Its composition is harmonious and detailing elegant. The horizontal divisions above the second floor and above the fifth floor actually correspond to changes in the thickness of the walls, as required by the building ordinance no. 1147, passed shortly after the Fire of 1889. The corner entrance with the carved lion’s head was the bank entrance, while the main entrance to the building (and to the upper floors) was, and still is, on the Yesler Way elevation. John Parkinson was a young, fairly inexperienced architect at this point of his career and with this building proved his metal. After designing the Seattle National Bank, he continued to work in Seattle for a few more years, designing buildings for the Seattle School District, such as the B. F. Day School (still standing) and the Cascade School, demolished in the 1950s. In Seattle, with the economic panic of 1893, many architects and well as business people had financial difficulties. Parkinson, a British native, (born in 1861 in Scorton, U.K. and originally trained in the building trades), returned to California, where he had worked before his arrival in Seattle. This time he moved to the Los Angeles area and founded the very successful Parkinson and Associates, responsible for many Los Angeles landmarks, including buildings on the campus of the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles City Hall and the Art Deco Bullock’s on Wilshire Boulevard. William Rankin Ballard, who came to Seattle in the 1850s from Ohio, is now best known for the founding of the town of Ballard; he was involved in early investments in Seattle in street railways, banks and real estate. The Seattle National Bank Building also housed the offices of the city’s first interurban railway started in 1889, hence the building’s current name. The railway line took passengers as far as the then independent town of Georgetown. The line went bankrupt and was taken over in 1902 by the Puget Sound Electric Railway, which took passengers as far as Tacoma. Historically, the building has had other names. By the mid-1960s, it was considered and known as the Smith Tower Annex. The building suffered some damage during the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake, but has been restored, so that its exterior reflects its historic architectural glory.
The Interurban Building, originally known as First National Bank Building and built in 1890-1892, occupies a site that is roughly 112’ x 119’. It is located on the southeast corner of Yesler Way and Occidental Way (Avenue) South. It is six stories tall. The interior spaces were originally designed around a light court. The building has brick walls, with terra cotta trim as well as Colorado sandstone for trim and at the base level, particularly at the corner entry on the southeast corner of Yesler Way and Occidental Way. The corner entrance is emphasized by groups of engaged Romanesque Revival columns which frame the door and a carved lion’s head above the arched doorway. The inset arched doorway is further outlined by delicate floral carving in the sandstone trim. The first two levels of the building are distinguished by a continuous arcade of wide, double height arches along Yesler Way and along Occidental. Above this is a belt-course and a series of smaller arches, usually paired in smaller bays, (the third eastern bay on Yesler has a bay of a trio of arches). At the third and fourth levels, are a series of double height arches, corresponding to the bays on the third level. Here window openings are separated by recessed spandrels. A second belt course separates the fifth and the sixth levels. The bays of the sixth level consist of groups of trabeated window openings, corresponding to the openings on the fifth level. The window openings are framed by short, engaged Romanesque Revival columns, which are usually doubled up between grouped openings. A top belt-course with projecting dentils is surmounted by a parapet, which continues the arch theme with small, paired arched openings.

Detail for 102 Occidental WAY / Parcel ID 5247800555 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Stone - Ashlar/cut, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition, Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Professional Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: six
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Transportation
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Storefront: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Ochsner, Jeffrey and Dennis Andersen. Distant Corner: Seattle Architects and The Legacy of H. H. Richardson. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2004.
Andrews, Mildred et al. Pioneer Square: Seattle's Oldest Neighborhood. Manuscript. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, forthcoming 2005.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 30 April 1890.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.

Photo collection for 102 Occidental WAY / Parcel ID 5247800555 / Inv #

Photo taken May 24, 2004

Photo taken Jul 06, 2004
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