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Summary for 777 THOMAS ST / Parcel ID 19912-1080 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: 777 Thomas St Common Name: German Motor Specialists
Style: Art Deco - Zig Zag Neighborhood: South Lake Union
Built By: Year Built: 1931
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).

This historic property has been formally designated a City of Seattle landmark per the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance (SMC 25.12). Refer to the webpage listed below for a list of City of Seattle landmarks and additional information regarding this specific property:

777 Thomas Street was designed by Architect George Wellington Stoddard as an “Ordinary Masonry Utility Building for W. C. Lewis.” Original drawings by Stoddard date from March 1931 and the building appears to have been completed in the same year. The Art Deco design and decoration is one of a kind and the building has retained a significant portion of its exterior fabric, including its original industrial sash windows. While the 8th Avenue garage door appears to be a replacement, there have always been garage doors in their present location, according to original drawings by George Wellington Stoddard. The building was subsequently altered on its interior in 1933 for use by Food Produce Manufacturing and by 1940, housed offices of the Johns Manville Sales Corporation. In 1947, the owner of the building was “B. V. Korry,” who commissioned architect Harold K. Wilson to design an interior balcony. The name Korry was associated with the building at least until 1971.The building now houses German Motor Specialists, as well as the offices of Graphic Options, specializing in graphic design. The architect, George Wellington Stoddard, born in Detroit in 1896, practiced architecture in partnership with his father, Lewis M. Stoddard, after receiving a B.S. from the University of Illinois. After his father’s death in 1929, Stoddard practiced independently until 1955 and was responsible for clinics, banks, apartment buildings, and larger houses. 777 Thomas St dates from early in his independent practice. Later in this his career, he designed Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center in 1947 and the Green Lake Aqua Theater in 1950. From 1955 to 1960, he was part of Stoddard, Huggard and Associates. He died in September of 1967.
This one story building has exterior walls of concrete with cast stone ornament and window frames in metal sash. It has two street facing elevations, a façade of six bays on Thomas Street and a three bay elevation on 8th Avenue North. These exterior elevations mainly consist of storefronts set between decorative pilasters, although the 8th Avenue North elevation has always had a central bay devoted to a garage door. The Thomas Street elevation with six bays, has the most distinctive detailing of the two elevations and presents itself as the main façade. Both elevations are divided into their respective number of bays by engaged pilasters. Overlapping Art Deco chevron patterns, in cast stone and currently painted in silver paint, move vertically up each pilaster, suggesting a very stylized and geometrical leaf pattern. Flanking this design are long incised “lines,” three on each side and currently painted black. Storefronts are relatively high and set above sills, which vary in height, depending on the topography. Each storefront consists of two vertical sections, with each section presenting a row of rectangular lights, which are longer in the horizontal dimension and set in industrial metal sash frame. The division between the two sections is also clearly marked in the concrete above the opening by a short incised line. An incised line, parallel to the storefront header, along with the outer incised lines of the pilaster decorations (to each side) give the impression that each storefront opening has an outer framing surround. The parapet level of the two street facing facades is emphasized by a horizontal row of repeated curved or cylindrical elements, in cast stone, which are set on top of concrete wall. The building has many distinctive and original decorative details of this kind. A distinguishing decorative feature also appears at the second bay, (from the east), of the Thomas Street façade. It is a symmetrically composed, Art Deco sculptural surround in cast stone, which highlights a main entry door and is set in front of the plane of the façade. Each side of the doorway presents a stylized motif - a long, thin extruded rectangular “stem,” with a flattened volute-type curved element at the top. The vertical nature of the design is further emphasized by a series of reveals, parallel to the vertical portion of this design, which move back by increments toward the plane of the wall. Above the door opening, the curved portion of the main decorative element is further echoed by curves, alternating with short, angled shapes, which also resemble the chevron-like pattern, presented on the face of the pilasters. This combination of horizontal curved and angled shapes is further echoed by a series of reveals, which also move back by increments toward the plane of the façade. Meanwhile, the door appears to be deeply recessed within the sculptural element, with the top and the jambs of the surround gently angling in toward the door, creating a false perspective. In general, the building has retained a significant amount of its exterior fabric, including one of a kind Art Deco elements and original industrial sash windows.

Detail for 777 THOMAS ST / Parcel ID 19912-1080 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Concrete, Stone - Cast Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Drawings, Microfiche Files, Department of Planning and Development.

Photo collection for 777 THOMAS ST / Parcel ID 19912-1080 / Inv # 0

Photo taken May 07, 2005

Photo taken May 08, 2005

Photo taken May 07, 2005
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