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Summary for 1916 Boren AVE / Parcel ID 0660002170 / Inv #

Historic Name: Bartell Drug Office and Retail Store, Bartell Boren Building Common Name: 1916 Boren Avenue/ Mirabella
Style: Art Deco Neighborhood: Denny Triangle
Built By: Year Built: 1929
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
A permit was obtained for the construction of this building in 1927, but the name of the architect is illegible. Construction occurred between 1928 and 1929. No records of original drawings seem to be available; however, an item in the January 12, 1928 Daily Journal of Commerce describes the ongoing construction of a new building for the Bartell Drug Company, fitting the description of this one, located on a site adjoining “ 1906 Boren Avenue," and designed by Henry Bittman. Syllaasen and Sando were the contractors. Subcontractors included Olympic Cast Stone Company and Phillips Sand and Gravel Company. Property record cards indicate that at least from 1933, the building, listed as a warehouse and store, was owned by the Bartell Drug Company and continued to be associated with it. Drawings for a 1986 remodel by the architecture firm of Bittman Vammen Taylor describe the building as the “Bartell Boren Building.” It was at this time that the storefronts were replaced and seismic modifications were made, with rosettes added at the parapet level. A recent remodel, involving major interior changes at the ground level and the addition of a heat pump system, was done according to 2005 designs by the Portland, Oregon firm of Moisan Ankrom. Aside from the changes to fenestration, the building façade, its cladding and detailing, are intact. The building is typical of the work of Henry Bittman’s firm in this period. The three story, tripartite composition of the façade and the application of delicate ornament, some of it vaguely Spanish Revival, are consistent with Bittman’s other work. The building’s façade is significant as a simple but elegant example of the work of a major Seattle architecture firm, responsible for many of Seattle’s architectural gems. Henry Bittman, who arrived in Seattle in 1906, began his career in Seattle first as an engineer and was licensed as an architect, later in his career, in 1923. Following this, Bittman’s office seems to have been especially successful. In the Denny Triangle area itself, other examples of Bittman’s work include the simpler 914 Virginia Street, designed when Bittman was not yet a licensed architect and the Volker Building (1928), now on the National Register of Historic places and the Fashion Craft Building. Harold Adams, an employee in Bittman’s firm, is credited with some of the more interesting design work. An important client was the Clise Family, which has a well-known association with the present Denny Triangle area. Also among the notable buildings designed by the Bittman firm in Seattle, still standing and mostly in Downtown: 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. His firm endured well after his death.
This is a three story concrete structure, with a partial basement. It has a rectangular footprint, 60’ x 120’, with the main façade set along the shorter dimension. The building is sited mid-block between Stewart and Virginia Streets, on the east side of Boren Avenue. There is only one façade, the building’s most significant feature. The north and south elevations, although visible, were not designed to be seen from the street and are stucco clad. The main façade has a symmetrical, tripartite composition. It is primarily clad in beige and golden brown brick, with cast stone trim at the base, at the top of the third level and at the parapet. Piers divide the façade into three bays, with identical trabeated openings at the ground level and similar window openings at the second and third levels. Piers are expressed on the facade as shallow, three-story engaged pilasters, clad in beige and golden brown brick, with grey cast stone bases and ornamented cast stone capitals. The capitals, linked together by a continuous, horizontal cast stone band, are topped by a repeated cast stone ornament. Although the overall composition is simple and straightforward, the detailing of the brick and cast stone ornamentation make the façade much more remarkable. Header bricks are used to create rectangular shapes in the spandrels, while smaller masonry units and header bricks are used to create a thin frame around the brick-clad shaft of the piers. A cast stone T-shape, ornamented with a garland motif, is embedded at the top of each pilaster shaft. Each pilaster capital, also in cast stone, includes a recessed rectangle, with a smaller garland motif. At this level, all the pilaster capitals are tied together by a continuous, horizontal, cast stone band. The band is made of shallow, rectangular, cast stone units and is topped by a shallow cornice and a similar horizontal cast stone band. The upper band is interrupted by elaborate ornaments, consisting of an oval shield, topped by a symmetrically placed v-shaped fountain or bowl motif, with stylized garlands, emanating from it and descending to each side of it. This ornament occurs directly above each pilaster and rises to the top of the parapet, where it ends with an unornamented antefix, embedded in the parapet coping. Below the coping and to each side of these repeated ornaments, the parapet cladding is in brick. At this level, each bay is emphasized by a recessed rectangular shape, framed by a rectangle of header bricks. In general, throughout the façade, the color of bricks varies from a light beige to golden brown, but the placement of the bricks does not seem to follow a known brick pattern or even a discernible brick pattern.

Detail for 1916 Boren AVE / Parcel ID 0660002170 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick - Roman, Concrete, Stone - Cast Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Health/Medicine
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
“Builders Announce Subcontract Awards,” Daily Journal of Commerce, January 12, 1928, p 1.

Photo collection for 1916 Boren AVE / Parcel ID 0660002170 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 20, 2006
App v2.0.1.0