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Summary for 2315 Western AVE / Parcel ID 0654000330 / Inv #

Historic Name: Bon Marche Stables/ Compton Lumber Company Common Name: Compton Building
Style: Other Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1908
 
Significance
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).
Currently known as the Compton Building, this frame multi-story building was completed in 1908. With its clapboard siding, wood window surrounds and multi-pane windows, the building is now unique in Belltown and, in fact, within Seattle’s downtown. Above the ground level, the main façade, including the parapet, cornice, the second and third floor windows, the wood surrounds and siding, are virtually intact. At the ground level, changes include: a store window, located south of the central opening, which was modified and turned into another wide opening; in the bay north of the central opening, the south window was modified into a transom and door. Nevertheless, the changes at this level, probably made sometime between the late 1960s and 1974, are compatible with the rest of the original façade. The essential features of the building and its façade have been retained. A 1912 Baist Map suggests that, early on, the building housed the Bon Marche Stables. This is consistent with the immediate neighborhood, which by 1912, also included the Union Stables, located on the northeast corner of Western Avenue and Blanchard Street, as well as a wagon works on the same block. On the same map, the Leigh Lumber Manufacturing Company was sited only a few lots north of the Bon Marche Stables, on the corner of Western Avenue and Battery Street. Meanwhile, between 1911 and 1938, the Compton Lumber Company, owned by Frank Compton, was located in several locations, mostly close to the present site. In 1911, for instance, the main address for the Company listed in Polk’s Seattle Directories, was 1302 Post Street. In 1926, 2109 Western Avenue was listed as the company’s main address, and in early 1938, Compton bought this building, although the main tenant appears to have been the Savage Lumber and Manufacturing Company. According to a photo from 1938, the building had a number of large signs, indicating a variety of tenants (or owners). The Modelow Co. has a large sign, painted across the building façade, above the second level. The Savage Lumber and Manufacturing Company, which remained in the building through the late 1940s, occupied at least the ground floor level of the building. The same company also displayed a fairly large square sign painted on the eastern side of the top part of the south elevation. At this time, there was also a twelve foot wide ramp that sloped up from east to west along the south elevation and led into wide second story doorway. The photo suggests that the ramp was supported on a rough, heavy timber open structure. The ramp and support are no longer part of the building, but seemed somewhat makeshift even in the 1930s photo. The same photo also indicates that the south façade, now not visible from the street, featured a series of double-hung, multi-pane windows at the first floor level; smaller, multi-pane windows, which pivoted out from the top, at the second level; and smaller, multi-pane, double-hung windows at the third floor level. By the late 1930s, the building included a “hand operated” electric freight elevator and its own “heating plant,” which was not used. By 1951, the building was still officially owned by the Compton Lumber Company. The building, which began as a stables building, was used, over the years, for a variety of industrial purposes and mainly for a lumber and manufacturing business. By the mid-1970s, like many such buildings, it was gradually transformed to house offices, such as graphics design and architectural firms.
 
Appearance
This building is sited mid-block between Battery Street and Bell Street on the west side of Western Avenue. It is three stories high with a tall basement level. The building footprint is 60 feet by 120 feet, with the shorter dimension parallel to Western Avenue. Exterior walls are of frame construction, described as “rustic double construction,” on a King County Tax Assessor Record Card from 1938. The original interior structure is of post and beam wood construction. Exterior cladding consists of wood clapboard siding. The building has a roof, which is not visible, as well as a parapet. There is one main east façade along Western Avenue, as well as a secondary northern elevation, which currently faces a parking lot. A south elevation is no longer visible from the street and adjoins the Empire Laundry Building, a City landmark. A west elevation faces an alley and is also not visible from the street. At the top of the main Western Avenue facade, the distinctive parapet is raised in a rectangular shape at its center and at the corner ends. The raised corners also extend a few feet into the north and the south elevations. Between the raised central rectangle and the raised corners, the parapet angles slightly downward, as it approaches the raised corners. Below the parapet and over the third level, a notable feature is the original cornice, which marks the parapet level and only extends a few feet onto the north elevation. Below this, the Western Avenue façade is divided into five bays. Above each of the second and third floors, each of the bays includes a varying number of wood framed, double-hung, six over six windows. At each of these levels, the central bay consists of a horizontal row of three double-hung windows. To each side of the central bay, is a horizontal row of two of these windows. In general, to each side of the three central bays, is a single double hung window. The south window at the end of the top floor, however, has been slightly altered, so that the sill level of the double-hung portion of the window is lower, but the top portion of the frame has been maintained: a transom level has been created between the top of the standard sized window and the top part of the opening. At the ground level, the various openings are less regular: There is a large central opening, now equipped with a metal garage door, set in an original (or replaced in kind) wood frame. To the south of it, is a second garage door. To the north of the central doorway, is a glazed door with a multi-pane transom, (two horizontal rows of three panes each), set alongside and south of a standard double-hung window. To the right and north of this, and set at the end of the facade, is a standard width door, also with a multi-pane transom. At the south and opposite end of the façade, is single door, with multiple panes. Here, the glazing mimics the configuration of the top part of a typical double-hung window. The north elevation, which was not meant to be seen from the street, has somewhat irregularly placed window openings, which feature six over six double-hung windows with wood frames. Some are in rows of two, while others are single. The sizes of the openings and windows also vary somewhat.

Detail for 2315 Western AVE / Parcel ID 0654000330 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Concrete, Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Community Planning/Development, Transportation
Integrity
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Baist, William. Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Surveys of Seattle, Wash. Philadelphia: W. G. Baist, 1912.

Photo collection for 2315 Western AVE / Parcel ID 0654000330 / Inv #


Photo taken Jul 31, 2006
App v2.0.1.0