Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for 1919 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200946 / Inv #

Historic Name: Hansen Bros. Building Common Name:
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1911
This property is directly associated with the initial period (1902-1920) of downtown commercial expansion that occurred due to local economic prosperity after the Klondike Gold Rush and in tandem with explosive population growth and suburban residential development. During this era, modern urban architectural scale began with the construction of the earliest steel-frame highrise buildings and the establishment of a concentration of banking enterprises and department stores along Second Avenue from Cherry Street to Pike Street. The initial regrading of Denny Hill and the commercial redevelopment of the former University Grounds (University/Metropolitan Tract) were major factors that facilitated northward and eastward commercial expansion. In 1914, the owners of the Frederick and Nelson Department Store purchased property with the intention of building a large, five-story store at Fifth Avenue and Pine Street, thus solidifying the location of the future downtown retail core. A significant number of extant commercial properties dating from this era remain within the downtown commercial core, including: numerous hotels, banks, business blocks and early highrise commercial buildings, as well as clubhouses, apartment houses and theaters. However, few specialty and department store building from this era remain intact and well preserved. Buildings specifically designed to be devoted to specialty retail or department store use typically included lower floor level commercial display spaces and upper floor level loft, sales and/or storage areas. The larger department store buildings were typically masonry construction and three to five stories in height, exhibited either a two or three-part commercial block facade composition, and were further dignified by prominent cornices and storefront canopies. This building type did not require as much natural light and ventilation as neighboring business blocks or hotels; thus, lot coverage and building mass could be maximized. Specialty retail and department stores typically required more elaborate interior finishes and fittings, as well as more elaborate exterior construction with large display windows in order to exhibit merchandise and often included ornate canopies providing pedestrian protection. In order to create additional industrial land areas to the south of the commercial district, as well as opportunities for commercial expansion further northward, major regrading efforts began in 1895. Under the direction of City Engineer R.H. Thompson, various projects were initiated with the intention of reducing the steepest slopes and eliminating the obstructing hills and filling tidelands. In 1897, First Avenue was further regraded and paved north from Pike Street to Denny Way. This was followed in 1903 when Second Avenue began to be extended and paved northward. By 1908, the major task of removing all of Denny Hill began in earnest. It would take over twenty years to completely remove Denny Hill; in the process Fourth Avenue at Blanchard Street would be lowered in elevation by some 107 feet. Most of Denny Hill to the west of Fifth Avenue had been removed by 1911; however, the lengthy civic debate over the Bogue Plan (that was ultimately rejected by voters in 1912) delayed real estate development in the vicinity. The anticipated major commercial development to the north of Stewart Street was slow to occur. With only a few exceptions, it was not until the early 1920s that sizable hotel and apartment house construction occurred. This four-story store and warehouse building was constructed for the Hanson Bros. by the builder and architect-designer, Frank S. Misho at an anticipated cost of $16,000. Located mid-block and directly across the street from the Moore Hotel and Theater (1907) and the New Washington Hotel (Josephinum,1906) and a short distant north of the Standard Furniture Company Building (1907), it is among the earliest extant store buildings in the newly regraded commercial area created by the removal of Denny Hill. The building permit was issued on May 5, 1911, as the Bogue Plan was still being debated and real estate development was delayed due to uncertainty about the future of the adjacent blocks to the east and north. The Hanson Bros. (Albert Hansen) was located at First Avenue and Cherry Street; however, it is not know what business they were in, whether the building was intended for their use or a speculative commercial real estate development. It was clearly designed for store and warehouse purposes and appears to have remained in the ownership of Albert Hansen from 1913 until 1940. By 1937, the upper floors were vacant and for lease and the storefront appears to have been in use by the Barnett’s Auction House, which was primarily located in the adjacent building to the north. Biographical information regarding Frank S. Misho or Albert Hansen has been yet to be uncovered. This is an intact although modest example of an important downtown (specialty store and warehouse) property type from this era. This property may potentially meet local landmark criteria.
Located mid-block on the west side of Second Avenue between Stewart and Virginia Streets, this four-story building was historically used for retail and commercial purposes, possibly light manufacturing. It currently appears to be used for retail and commercial purposes. It measures 30’ x 108’ and exhibits an intact exterior appearance and an unusual façade composition. The concrete structure includes a concrete foundation and basement. It is finished with smooth concrete and decorated with cast stone details including cast stone spandrel ornament, cornice and coping, The upper floor levels include original cast iron window frames. At the third and fourth floor levels the windows are a typical tripartite configuration set in individual openings in three bays and separated by spandrel panels. However, at the second floor level the cast iron window frame extends the entire width of the upper window bays and holds a series of large fixed panes flanked by narrower operable members. Spandrels that extend the width of the upper bays are located above and below this unusual window band. The storefront level appears to be an intact original building feature that includes tall mezzanine level windows, a deeply recessed entry vestibule, low bulkhead and wide expanses of glazed display windows with narrow metal mullions. There do not appear to be any intact or architecturally significant interior building features, finishes or public spaces.

Detail for 1919 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200946 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Specialty store Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Commerce
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Storefront: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
City of Seattle, Department of Planning and Development, Microfilm Records.

Photo collection for 1919 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 1977200946 / Inv #

Photo taken May 24, 2006
App v2.0.1.0