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Summary for 914 Virginia ST / Parcel ID 0660001365 / Inv #

Historic Name: Candy Manufacturing Building for H. H. Gulstine Common Name: Spruce Street School
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Denny Triangle
Built By: Year Built: 1919
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
According to original working drawings dated August 20, 1919, this building was designed as a “Candy Manufacturing Building for H. H. Gulstine,” (possibly Guldstine). The drawings were signed by “H. Bittman, Engineer.” As noted on the drawings, Great Northern Construction Contractors was responsible for the construction of the building. Henry Bittman, who arrived in Seattle in 1906, began his career in Seattle first as an engineer and was licensed as an architect in 1923. While fenestration has clearly been replaced, the cladding, particularly the buff brick, as well as the general sense of the building’s historical appearance, remain. The buff brick clad façade, which has a tripartite composition, is not inconsistent with Bittman’s work, although this particular design is somewhat simple even for a warehouse, compared to Bittman’s later work dating from the 1920s. By 1935, the Salvation Army occupied the building. By 2001, an original existing storefront sill was demolished to create a new entry in the north bay. It was also at this time that the building was seismically braced. In 2005, Carlson Architects created some exciting new interior spaces within the building for the use of the present tenant, the Spruce Street School (formerly located in a two historical warehouse buildings in the Cascade District); however the historical structural column grid was retained. The building retains the most important elements and detailing of its original exterior design, despite changes to the windows. It shows the evolution of the work of Henry Bittman, an engineer and architect, who made significant contributions to Seattle architecture, and particularly to the city’s downtown. Bittman’s office seems to have been especially successful in the 1920s, a few years after this building was erected and about the time he became a licensed architect. In the Denny Triangle area itself, other more ornate examples of Bittman’s work include the Volker Building (1928), now on the National Register of Historic places, the Music Box of 1928, demolished in the late 1980s and the Fashion Craft Building (1929). Also among the notable buildings designed by the Bittman firm in Seattle, still standing and reasonably intact are: the Terminal Sales Building (ca. 1923), the Decatur Building (1921), the Olympic Tower (ca. 1929), the Eagles Auditorium (1924-25), and the Hubbel Building (1922). Bittman’s initial education and work experience focused on structural engineering. He attended Cooper Union in New York. He was born in 1882 and grew up in Greenpoint in Brooklyn, New York. He continued to practice until his death in 1953 and by the 1950s, designed in the Modernist style.
914 Virginia Street is located mid-block between Terry and 9th Avenues and on the north side of Virginia Street. This is a three-story structure, with brick walls and a partial basement. Its footprint is 120’ by 60’, with the main façade following the shorter length. The original interior structure included regularly spaced wood posts, in addition to wood girders and floor joists. The building has a flat roof, to which skylights have since been added, and a parapet. The main façade is clad in buff brick and is divided into three bays, by continuous piers. At the parapet level, there is a simple, rectangular depression in the brick, creating an implied capital for each pier. Also at the parapet level, rectangles created in header bricks highlight the expanse of wall between the piers. The storefront at the ground level and the windows at the second and third levels span from pier to pier. Intervening, rectangular spandrels are faced in concrete and are highlighted by an inset rectangular shape. Historical photographs from around 1936 show that the façade windows were multi-pane windows, which have since been replaced. There was also some painted signage on some of the façade spandrels. The building has undergone a substantial renovation in 1995 and seismic bracing is now visible from the central ground floor and second floor glazing. The side elevation facing southwest has several feet of buff brick cladding and then reverts to more utilitarian red brick. While window openings are original, the actual windows have also been replaced. Based on historical photos, by 1936, the northeast elevation, which has no fenestration, (and never did), had, at the parapet level, a major painted sign advertising the Salvation Army, a tenant at least since 1935.

Detail for 914 Virginia ST / Parcel ID 0660001365 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Social Movements & Organizations
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
“Final Environmental Impact Statement for the New Federal Courthouse, Seattle, King County, Washington,” U.S. General Services Administration (Region 10), March 27, 1998, p 56-77.
Lydia Aldredge, Editor, Impressions of Imagination: Terra Cotta Seattle, Seattle: Allied Arts, 1986.

Photo collection for 914 Virginia ST / Parcel ID 0660001365 / Inv #

Photo taken Feb 12, 2006
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