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Summary for 2014 4th AVE / Parcel ID 0659000965 / Inv #

Historic Name: Virginian, The Common Name: Virginian Apartments
Style: None Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1917
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 high-rise 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 high-rise commercial buildings, as well as some specialty and department stores, clubhouses, apartment houses and theaters. 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. 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. 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, apartment and commercial construction occurred. Buildings that provided multiple-family housing in Seattle was not identified or described specifically as “apartment houses” prior to c.1903. During the late nineteenth and well into the twentieth centuries, numerous downtown hotel buildings functioned for long-term residential purposes. By 1905, several small apartment buildings had been constructed and were mingled primarily among the older single family residences located uphill and to the NE of the expanding commercial district. Most apartment construction during this era appears to have been concentrated further uphill along Yesler Way and on First Hill, as well as in burgeoning neighborhoods like Capitol Hill and Queen Anne Hill. As Denny Hill was removed and regraded in phases, small mixed use apartment buildings began to be constructed on the newly regraded lots. By the late 1910s, larger apartment houses had been constructed in the Denny Regrade area to the north of Stewart Street, including some extant examples: the Sheridan Apartments (1914); the Nesika Apartments (Stratford Apartments, 1915); and the Virginian Apartments (1917). During the 1920s, two large apartment hotels were constructed in the commercial core; however, major apartment house construction did not occur. Such development was heavily concentrated in residential neighborhoods, particularly First Hill and Capitol Hill where numerous noteworthy examples from this era remain. The Virginian was designed and constructed for Ebright and Hamill in 1917. It was designed by Seattle architect Victor W. Voorhees. Victor Voorhees (1876-1970) was a particularly prolific Seattle architect. His Seattle career began in 1904, when he migrated from the Midwest to work in the building department of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Line. From 1907 to 1911, through the publication of Western Home Builder, a plan book catalog of his residential designs, he was responsible for the design of hundreds – possibly thousands – of single-family homes constructed in Seattle. These house designs, although varied, have recognizable features and detailing. Extant examples can be found in neighborhoods throughout Seattle, but in particular on Wallingford, Queen Anne Hill and Capitol Hill. He is also known to have designed a significant number of commercial buildings constructed from 1910 through the 1930s. He designed three large commercial buildings for the Vance Lumber Company, the Joseph Vance Building (1929), the Vance Hotel (1927) and the Lloyd Building (1928). He appears to have also worked on smaller projects for the Vance Company as well, including: the Seattle Engineering School (adapted to Marqueen Apartments). Voorhees is known to have designed several automobile showrooms/dealerships, the Georgetown City Hall; apartment houses including the Washington Arms on Capitol Hill and numerous small neighborhood commercial buildings, laundries, warehouses and industrial buildings, as well as residences. He continued to practice in Seattle until c.1955. The Virginian apartment house is a somewhat altered example of a rare downtown apartment house property type from this era. It is a modest example of apartment house design, but is associated with an important Seattle architect, Victor W. Voorhees. It may potentially meet local landmark criteria.
Located mid-block on the east side of Fourth Avenue between Virginia and Lenora Streets, this three and one-half story building was designed and constructed to serve as a 14-unit apartment house purposes for which is continues to be used. It measures 60’ x 108’ with an I-shaped plan that allows for north and south interior lights wells at the residential units. The one-part vertical block façade composition exhibits modest terra cotta ornament. The ordinary masonry structure with full concrete basement and foundation is clad with buff-color pressed brick. The façade is dominated by a central 1-1/2 half story recessed entry vestibule. The rectangular opening is trimmed with wide cream-color terra cotta panels on granite plinths. The original vestibule was open to the street but has been enclosed by a modern steel and glass door assembly with sidelights. The remainder of the façade is punctuated by symmetrically placed window openings; primarily sets of original double-hung windows with terra cotta surrounds. A wide terra cotta watertable runs across the façade above small basement level windows. The building is capped by a simple decorated metal cornice and coping at the parapet. The rear exterior wall is brick masonry penetrated by segmental arched window openings.. The entry vestibule is flanked by original exterior lighting sconces. Some original historic building fabric is visible within the now-enclosed entry vestibule; white hex tile flooring, marble stairwell and marble and wood wall paneling. There do not appear to be any other intact or architecturally significant interior building features, finishes or public spaces.

Detail for 2014 4th AVE / Parcel ID 0659000965 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick - Common Bond Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Domestic - Multiple Family Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: three & ½
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development
Changes to Interior: Unknown
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
City of Seattle DPD Microfilm Records.

Photo collection for 2014 4th AVE / Parcel ID 0659000965 / Inv #

Photo taken May 25, 2006
App v2.0.1.0