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Summary for 2416 34th AVE / Parcel ID 2225039052 / Inv # SFD020

Historic Name: Fire Station No. 41 Common Name:
Style: Art Deco, Art Deco - Streamline Moderne Neighborhood: Magnolia
Built By: Year Built: 1934
 
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 1934, this small fire station, which serves the entire Magnolia neighborhood, is unique among all others in Seattle for its distinctive Streamline Moderne design. With drawings provided by the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the city constructed its first fire station in Magnolia, which opened in November 1934. Although the city annexed the Magnolia peninsula in 1891, there was little residential or commercial development until the 1920s and 1930s due to its topography and geographical isolation. However, most of Magnolia’s housing stock dates to the period between 1930 and 1960. The Magnolia peninsula is made up of two hills separated by a valley, once known as Paradise Valley. The previously rural valley now contains the Magnolia Village commercial district of local shops, restaurants, and grocery stores, as well as Fire Station No. 41. In 1857, Naval Geographer George Davidson had named the southwest corner of the peninsula Magnolia Bluff after mistaking the extensive groves of madrona trees for magnolias. In the 1850s, the first land claims were staked in the Interbay area between Magnolia and Queen Anne with Salmon Bay on the north and Smith Cove of Elliott Bay on the south. By 1860, farming was beginning to spread up and over Magnolia with scattered settlements of farmhouses among the fields. In 1881, a lighthouse was established at West Point. Ten years later, the Great Northern Railroad was routed through the Interbay area, improving access to Magnolia. The railroad also built extensive facilities at Interbay, including the longest pier on the West Coast. In 1895, the City of Seattle donated land in the northwest corner of the peninsula to the Department of War for the creation of Camp Lewis, which was largely developed between 1898 and 1908. In 1900, the army garrison was renamed Fort Lawton to honor Major General H.W. Lawton killed in the Spanish-American War the previous year. Soon the area became known as the Lawton Peninsula, especially after the 1905 establishment of a streetcar line to Fort Lawton from Interbay via the northern end of the peninsula. Despite these developments, most of Magnolia retained its character as a rural community of dairy and chicken farms at a time when the rest of the city was experiencing rapid urban growth. It was not until access improved in the 1910s and 1920s that residential and commercial development began on a larger scale. The pace of development accelerated after the construction of the Magnolia Bridge in 1930. By the early 1930s, it was necessary to provide the burgeoning residential neighborhood with local fire protection services. Due to the financial difficulties of the depression, the city turned to the federal Civil Works Administration (CWA) to prepare plans for their new Magnolia fire station. Established in November 1933 to provide relief work for unemployed persons through public work projects, the CWA functioned simultaneously with the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and to some extent with the same personnel. In March 1934, the CWA was liquidated, and its functions and records were transferred to the Emergency Relief Program of FERA. In 1935, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) consolidated and superseded several earlier programs, including the CWA and the FERA. It is unknown at this time whether the CWA assisted with the construction of this building. This fire station is significant for its design and for its associations with the development of the Seattle Fire Department and the Magnolia peninsula and with the Civil Works Administration.
 
Appearance
Completed in 1934, this architecturally distinctive building exhibits Streamline Moderne stylistic influences. These include an asymmetric facade composition, a flat roof, rounded corners, curved marquees, and a smooth wall finish trimmed on three elevations with bands of brick, which enhance the horizontal design composition. The building is comprised of three sections, creating an irregular but mostly rectangular footprint, measuring 49 feet by 60 feet. A large 1½-story engine bay with a rectangular plan is situated at the northwest corner. A smaller one-story office with a square plan extends a few feet beyond the engine bay at the southwest corner. The remaining one-story L-shaped portion, which wraps around the southeast corner, contains living quarters with a basement level accessible by a stairwell on the south elevation. Covered by a curved marquee, the engine bay’s large opening dominates the principal west elevation. This opening contains two pairs of vehicular entrance doors, each with a narrow window at the center and a zigzag rivet pattern. Immediately north of the opening, a distinctive flagpole extends beyond the stepped parapet of the curved northwest corner, providing vertical emphasis. A small hose tower and an attached chimney located towards the rear of the engine bay also serve this visual function. South of the opening, the projecting office wing is connected to the engine bay by a curved corner. This curve is echoed in the shallow marquee, which covers the band of multi-paned steel sash windows and the single entrance door. Stuccoed wall surfaces with bands of brick trim tie these two sections of the building together visually on the west elevation and continue the full length of the north elevation and the length of the office block’s south elevation. Two of the four large window openings set within the bands on the north elevation have been infilled with concrete. The other two retain the original multi-paned steel sash windows. Four smaller window openings are centered above them. The south elevation of the office block has two window openings set within the bands. The north, east and south elevations of the living quarters at the rear are more utilitarian in appearance with their painted concrete finish and simple window openings. However, a stringcourse along the coping of the walls of all three sections helps to unify the building visually. An enclosed area in front of the office holds tanks and a gas pump. Located in the Magnolia Village commercial district, this well-maintained structure has excellent physical integrity.

Detail for 2416 34th AVE / Parcel ID 2225039052 / Inv # SFD020

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, 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: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Politics/Government/Law, Other
Integrity
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Plan: 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 2416 34th AVE / Parcel ID 2225039052 / Inv # SFD020


Photo taken Oct 31, 2000
App v2.0.1.0