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Summary for 1900-1902 N 55th ST N / Parcel ID 9551202740 / Inv #

Historic Name: Common Name:
Style: Modern, Ranch Neighborhood: Wallingford
Built By: Year Built: 1952
This duplex was erected 1951-52 for Mrs. Hortense Kellett, the owner of the property. The builder’s name is not indicated on the permit application; however, the structure was designed by W. H. Whitely, an architect who had worked with Seattle developer Frederick Anhalt early in the latter man’s career. Whitely was later associated with a number small scale multi-family and commercial building projects throughout the city. The structure is addressed as two separate units, 1900 and 1902 N. 55th Street. The building is significant as a rare example (in Wallingford) of a 1950s era ranch style structure and is typical of the approach to post World War II housing design adopted by eclectic architects trained in the first half of the 20th century.
This is a one-story frame duplex on a concrete foundation over a partially finished full basement. The building is clad primarily with wide cedar clapboards; however, the uppermost four feet of all four elevations is clad with combed cedar vertical siding boards having a texture similar to that of combed cedar shakes. Because the building fronts on N. 55th Street and is wider than it is deep, the ridge of the simple hipped roof runs east and west (parallel to the street). A chimney penetrates the roof at the center of the structure. The strong horizontal lines established by the eaves of the roof and by the wide, thick horizontal siding boards are reminiscent of the prairie style bungalows built in 1910s and 1920s. The large wood-framed picture windows with awning style vents that illuminate the public rooms, and the horizontal bias and high sills of the bedroom windows, are typical of the fenestration systems utilized by eclectic designers influenced by the Modern movement and commonly found in ranch style structures completed in the 20 years following World War II The middle half of the south (front) elevation is set back from the face of the structure to form a notch in which the concrete entry stairs and porches serving the two halves of the duplex are situated. The entry doors are located at either end of the set back portion of the wall. Between the doors are two large window assemblies, each serving one of the two housing units. Each assembly consists two parts, and each part consists of two wide rectangular fixed windows over a low, rectangular, awning type windows. The plane of the front elevation is established by the sections of wall to either side of the central notch. A basement window assembly is centered low in each of these wall segments. These window assemblies consist of three nearly square units of equal size; the center unit of each group appears to be operable. At the main floor level, a large picture window wraps around the corner at the western edge of the south elevation. A similar situation occurs at the southeast corner of the building. The east and west elevations are nearly identical. At each side of the building, a second door enters into each housing unit from a concrete porch just to the north of the wrap-around window. These are style and rail doors with a glass light in the upper half and a wood panel below. At the northern end of each side elevation, a window assembly nearly identical to the assemblies lighting the basement at the south side of the structure illuminates the upper level corner bedroom in each unit. Between the back entry and the window at north end of each side façade are two smaller windows that vary in size, configuration and placement between the two elevations. At the basement level, a pair of windows, each consisting of a fixed upper sash over an operable awning type sash of equal size, is located at the northern end of each side elevation. A smaller single window of similarly configuration, is situated at basement level near the center of the east and west walls. The north elevation of the building cannot be easily viewed from the street. The head casings of all the upper level windows abut the underside of the eaves at every visible facade. The larger windows at the front of the building extend from the soffit to a point below the horizontal line where the two siding patterns meet. Except for a window that appears to have been replaced at the east elevation, no significant modifications to this structure are apparent.

Detail for 1900-1902 N 55th ST N / Parcel ID 9551202740 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Vertical - Boards, Wood, Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Hip Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition-Shingle
Building Type: Domestic - Multiple Family Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.

Photo collection for 1900-1902 N 55th ST N / Parcel ID 9551202740 / Inv #

Photo taken Sep 28, 2004
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