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Summary for 410 Stewart ST / Parcel ID 0659000400 / Inv #

Historic Name: Tyee Building Common Name: Centennial Building
Style: Italian - Italian Renaissance, Beaux Arts - American Renaissance Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1925
 
Significance
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This property is directly associated with the early twentieth century developmental era (1920-1930) when a significant number of commercial buildings were constructed and the modern downtown commercial district was fully established. In 1923, Seattle adopted its first ordinance that regulated specific geographic areas for specified uses; it allowed the most densely concentrated commercial development to occur in the downtown core. The economic prosperity of the 1920s stimulated the development of numerous major highrise commercial buildings, as well as smaller-scale bank and commercial buildings, major hotels and apartment hotels, club buildings and entertainment facilities, which were all typically designed by leading Seattle architects. During this era, the original residential district was entirely absorbed by commercial and other real estate development. By 1930, virtually all of the old residential properties - as well as many of the immediate post-fire era commercial buildings outside of Pioneer Square - had been demolished or removed. This building is one of a collection of extant two-story commercial block buildings (mostly dating from the 1920s) that share similar building form, scale, exterior cladding and ornate architectural treatment. Like commercial highrise construction of this era, they are typically located at a prominent corner of a downtown block with matching facades at each elevation; however, mid-block locations with a single façade were also commonly constructed. Their most distinctive features are glazed terra cotta cladding and/or other terra cotta components that both reveal the underlying structural system and allowed architects to utilize a wide range of eclectic architecture styles that were particularly popular during this era. In this case the details are drawn from the Classical design mode, which was heavily used in terra cotta design during the 1910s; whereas, in the 1920s a wider range of popular revival styles were designed and constructed. During this era, neighborhood commercial districts also flourished with similar building types. Other extant terra cotta clad two-story, commercial block buildings that are located downtown and fit within this category include: the Ames Building (Charles Bebb, 1914), Liberty Building (Nevins & Horrocks, 1922), Old National Bank Building (Henry H. James, 1922), Broderick Building (John Graham, Sr., 1922), Mann Building/Embassy Theater (Henry Bittman, 1926) and the much altered/partly demolished Pande Cameron Building (Henry Bittman, 1928). Similar extant two-story, commercial block buildings that are partially clad or decorated with terra cotta ornament include: the S.J. Holmes Building (J. Lister Holmes, 1924); Jordan Building (Lawton & Moldenhour, 1920) and the Colony Club ((John Creutzer, 1928). 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, apartment and commercial construction occurred. With the adoption of a zoning code in 1923, several multi-story, store and loft buildings that could accommodate light manufacturing and publishing purposes were also constructed, as were numerous automobile-related businesses and parking facilities. This building was constructed in 1925 for the Tyee Investment Company, believed to be a commercial real estate development firm. It was designed by noted Seattle architect Henry W. Bittman and intended for retail and loft and office use. It was reported designed to accommodate additional future floor levels, which have never been added. The original tenant or uses have not been identified. By 1935, the building was owned by F & W Realty Co. The storefront portions of the building are known to have been used by a religious book and supply store, a shoe store and a florist shop. The 1937 tax record photograph reveals that the upper floor corner offices were in use by the State Democratic Party and the campaign to reelect Franklin D. Roosevelt. Reportedly, a secretarial school later used the upper floor level. In 1979, the property was owned by the catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and leased to Cornerstone Corporation. In 1979, the Bumgardner Partnership undertook the renovation of the building, which involved the reconstruction of some storefront details. Henry W. Bittman (1882-1953) and his firm were responsible for the design of numerous highly distinctive terra cotta clad buildings in Seattle, including several constructed in downtown Seattle during the 1920s. Bittman grew up in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York and his initial training and education focused on structural engineering. When he arrived in Seattle in 1906, he worked as a bridge designer and in 1907, entered into a short-lived partnership with Seattle architect William Kingsley. By 1908, Bittman had established his own engineering and architectural practice; however, he was not licensed as an architect until 1923 after which his firm was particularly successful. A highly important designer in the firm was Henry Adams. Adams worked with Bittman continuously after c.1908 and was responsible for many of the more striking building exteriors and interior spaces produced by the firm. In addition to the nearby Terminal Sales Building (1923), among the other highly notable, extant Seattle projects designed by the Bittman firm are: the Decatur Building (1921); the Olympic Tower (c. 1929); the Eagles Auditorium (1924-25); the Hubbel Building (1922); and the 1929-1931 addition to the King County Courthouse. Distinctive nearby office and commercial buildings designed by the firm include: the Securities Building additions (1924, 1948); and possibly the – yet to be verified - Standard Clock and Suit Building (1925), White Garage (1928) as well as the heavily altered Securities Market Building (1929). This building is a remarkably intact and well-preserved example of a distinct downtown property type, a two-story, terra cotta clad commercial block. It is a notable example of commercial block design executed in the Classical mode utilizing glazed terra cotta cladding and other terra cotta components, which remain visible and in generally sound condition. Furthermore, it is associated with the career of a particularly significant local architect, Henry Bittman.
 
Appearance
Located at the NE corner of Fourth Avenue and Stewart Street this two-story building originally housed retail stores and upper floor level office spaces. The ground floor currently houses some retail stores and the upper floor level appears to be used for commercial office purposes. It measures 108’ x 120’ with five bays oriented toward both Fourth Avenue and Stewart Street. It exhibits a two-part commercial block façade with Italian Renaissance derived ornament. It is a particularly distinctive building and in a relatively intact and unaltered condition. The reinforced concrete structural system (with a concrete basement/ foundation) is entirely clad at the principal elevations with glazed white-beige color terra cotta panels and ornament. The distinctive and intact storefront/base level is accentuated on both principal elevations by wide storefront openings with rounded heads that are trimmed with spiral leaf terra cotta ornament and polished brown-black granite clad column piers. The terra cotta base is visually terminated by a terra cotta frieze (depicting ornamental swags, garlands, and shields) with scroll brackets that correspond to the upper floor level window pattern. The inset mahogany storefront window and door panels include three-part mezzanine level windows with distinctive turned wooden mullions. Fixed plate-glass display windows with copper sash and granite bulkheads also remain in place. Ornate original door trim with turned columns/surrounds and pediment heads, ornate carved capitals and swags remain in place at the storefronts as do two areas of original terrazzo and tile entry paving. Integral awning boxes are incorporated into each storefront opening immediately below the mezzanine level windows and above the display windows. Window bays at the upper floor level correspond with each of the wide storefront bay openings below and the glazing pattern of the mezzanine windows. The upper floor windows are a three-part configuration with terra cotta mullions and surmounted by an ornate terra cotta frieze with brackets at the mullion heads. The window bays at each end of both elevations are crowned by a central segmental arched tympanum. At each of the piers between each window opening is a rosette designed to hold a light bulb and intended to illuminate the building. The building is capped by a narrow terra cotta cornice with ornate terra cotta cresting. The property underwent renovation in the late 1970s when some storefront rehabilitation occurred including the installation of some anodized aluminum storefront sash and a modern entryway (at Stewart Street only). Portions of terra cotta currently exhibit some damage and deterioration. The northernmost bay of the storefront level at Fourth Avenue includes what may have originally been an open stairwell to the upper floors. It is distinguished by terrazzo and tile finishes and ornamental iron handrails. There do not appear to be any other intact or architecturally significant interior building features, finishes or public spaces.

Detail for 410 Stewart ST / Parcel ID 0659000400 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Professional Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Intact
Storefront: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Interior: Slight
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Aldredge, Lydia. Impressions of Imagination: Terra Cotta Seattle, Allied Arts of Seattle, 1986.
Link, Karen Murr. "The Centennial Building - Its History & Rehabiliation," June 1986.
Seattle Monorail Greenline EIS - Historic Resource Form prepared by ENTRIX (2003).

Photo collection for 410 Stewart ST / Parcel ID 0659000400 / Inv #


Photo taken May 25, 2006

Photo taken Sep 04, 2006

Photo taken May 25, 2006

Photo taken May 25, 2006
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