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Summary for 4871-4875 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702900880 / Inv #

Historic Name: Rainier Valley Investment Company Common Name: Lion's Club Building
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Columbia City
Built By: Year Built: 1913
The Rainier Valley Investment Company built this two-story brick building in 1913 after purchasing the property from the Alexander H. Hepler. Three principals, H. A. Gardener, president, D.W. Brown, vice president and J.A. Kelso, secretary and treasurer, owned the Rainier Valley Investment Company; the company offered insurance, real estate and investment services. Incorporated circa 1908, the company had been located across the street at 4870 Rainier Avenue S. for several years. Architect Henderson Ryan was hired by the Rainier Valley Investment Company to design a one-story brick store building and obtained a permit to construct the building in February 1913. The same year an additional permit was obtained to build a second story brick addition to the same building. The total cost of both construction efforts was $10,500, a considerable expense for a suburban brick commercial building at the time. Architect Henderson Ryan was active in Seattle at the turn of the century through the early 1920s. He was responsible for the design of apartment blocks, hotels and commercial buildings downtown, on Capitol and First Hill and in the Denny regrade area. He designed the Carnegie Library in Ballard and was noted for a patented theater ramp design that allowed easier access and less congestion for patrons. His design was used in the Liberty Theatre in Seattle. The subject building was built on the site of the two-story frame Hepler residence and grocery store. Alexander H. Hepler built the original building in 1894; it was one of the few buildings along the commercial strip during the1890s. Alexander and Sophronia Hepler came to Columbia City from Iowa soon after the town was established in 1891. Prior to selling the grocery/residence for redevelopment in 1913, the family constructed the two story brick Hepler Block at 4909 Rainier Avenue S. in 1906. In the early years of its life, the subject building featured three storefronts and a variety of tenants. The upper floor was residential and had a meeting hall. 4875 Rainier Avenue S. had the Pixley Grocery Store (1911), Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co., Green’s Dry Goods (1915), Beehive Marketerias (1926), and Ernst Hardware. During the 1930s it was occupied by Rainier Valley Transfer and Storage. A Christian Science Reading Room was located on the south, Ferdinand Street side of the building. Since 1969 the Rainier Lions Club has owned the building. For many years the Club contracted with the State to house people attending the state training facility for the blind located a few blocks away on Alaska Street. The Lions use much of the first floor as a meeting facility. Matthiesen’s Flowers currently leases the storefront. The subject building is significant as a prominent and intact commercial/residential block designed by Seattle architect Henderson Ryan.
This two story commercial vernacular building is of wood frame construction and is supported by concrete foundation. The building has a flat roof with parapet and segmented modillioned cornice. The southeast corner of the building is rounded. The fenestration consists of newer windows topped by a flat metal canopy; the window openings remain intact. The fenestration configuration on the main elevation consists of three three-part windows with single windows in-between. The south side elevation features evenly spaced single windows. The main elevation consists of a single storefront with central inset entrance. The storefront windows have been replaced, including the transom windows above the early twentieth century canopy. An entry to the upper floor and a small storefront are located on the south side elevation. Although the building has undergone extensive fenestration alterations, the form, cladding and storefront configuration remain intact. A renovated street clock was installed in 1988 in front of the Rainier Valley Investment Company. The clock was made in Seattle in 1906, and was originally sited on the 1200 block of First Avenue.

Detail for 4871-4875 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702900880 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Brick No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Storefront: Moderate
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.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Anderson, Buzz. “Early Investment Firm Served Valley,” Beacon Hill and South District Journal, page 1, 3/22/2000.
Centennial History, Columbia City, Rainier Valley, 1853-1991, Pioneers of Columbia City. Seattle, Washington, 1992.
Architects file cards, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Historic Preservation Program, 700 3rd Avenue, Suite 400, Seattle, WA, 98104.

Photo collection for 4871-4875 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702900880 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 22, 2004
App v2.0.1.0