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Summary for 1017 Olive WAY / Parcel ID 0660001725 / Inv #

Historic Name: Northwest Motors, Inc Common Name: Seattle Honda
Style: Spanish - Eclectic Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1919, 1930, c.1943
 
Significance
This property is associated with the early twentieth century era (1920-1930) when the modern downtown commercial district was fully established as additional high-rise commercial buildings were built. The economic prosperity of the 1920s stimulated the development of numerous major high-rise commercial buildings, as well as smaller-scale bank and specialty retail stores, major hotels including apartment hotels, club buildings and entertainment facilities designed by leading local architects. The northward expansion and establishment of the commercial development lead to the destruction of the original residential district, which was absorbed by commercial and other real estate development. By 1930, virtually all of the old residential district properties - as well as many of the immediate post-fire era commercial buildings outside of Pioneer Square - had been demolished or removed. In 1919, the entire electric streetcar system became a municipally-owned operation. However, the system failed to provide adequate service and continued to face economic difficulties. One major factor was that after World War I, the use of private automobiles changed the way downtown Seattle functioned. Surface parking lots – many of which included a small gas station building - became a part of the commercial core or were located nearby on its periphery. By 1930, large parking garages – some that could store hundreds of automobiles – were a lucrative and essential part of downtown. During this era automobile showrooms and dealerships were clustered along upper Pike Street on First Hill, and Westlake Avenue became increasingly populated by motor vehicle sales and automobile service-related businesses. The original portion of the Northwest Motor Company building appears to have been constructed in 1919 as a Packard automobile sales, showroom and service building. The building was originally designed by the firm of Bebb and Gould; however, it appears to have been repeatedly remodeled, expanded and altered and no longer bares any resemblance to that design. Charles Bebb and Carl F Gould practiced in a flourishing partnership from 1914 until 1924; it became a leading local firm designing over 200 local commissions, including schools, churches, hospitals, memorials, homes, clubhouses, and numerous commercial buildings executed in a range of historic revival and non-traditional modern architectural styles. The firm is known to have designed another extant showroom in 1922 for White Automobile Co. that is located at East Pike Street and Twelfth Avenue. This is a heavily altered example of an important downtown property type - automobile showroom - as well as a modest altered example of the work of a highly notable architectural practice.
 
Appearance
Located on a sloped site at the SW corner of Olive Way and Boren Avenue, this automobile showroom and service building has a very irregular form and floor plan and appears to have been constructed incrementally dating back to 1919. The main two-story portion of the current complex has a one-part commercial façade composition; however the complex has a very irregular form and incorporates a two-story hipped roof building at the SE corner of the complex. The building exhibits modest Spanish Eclectic design features including stucco finishes (including an area finished with field stone pattern) and red barrel tile roofing at a mansard roof portion and the hipped roof portion of the complex. The building measures approximately 120’x180’ and has reinforced concrete structural system. The current form appears to be the result of remodeling efforts c.1930, c.1937, c.1970, 1986 and 1990. The original complex included a narrower two-story building (at the corner of Olive Way and Boren Street) with an open courtyard accessible from Boren Avenue that separated it from the existing hipped roof building at the SE corner of the complex. The original auto showroom and service area may have been oriented toward Boren as historic photographs indicate that the storefront along Olive was devoted to retail and other commercial operations. The western half of the complex – composed of the four westernmost bays - was originally only one story. Sometime after 1938, the corner building was expanded to its current full two-story configuration with enclosed driveways located to each side of automobile display spaces at the Olive Way storefront level. The original tall, narrow individual windows were replaced and the current wide panels of multi-pane industrial steel sash and the offset stepped parapet were introduced. At a later point (c.1970) the complex was expanded and interconnected to the hipped roof building by enclosing the former courtyard off of Boren Avenue at which time the current access bay and sets of round windows appear to have been added. The current Olive Way storefront level and façade are very similar to that shown in photographs recorded in 1943. There do not appear to be any significant interior finishes features or public spaces.

Detail for 1017 Olive WAY / Parcel ID 0660001725 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Hip, Mansard Roof Material(s): Clay Tile, Unknown
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Brick No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Transportation
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Extensive
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Interior: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Booth, T. William and William H. Wilson. Carl F. Gould, A Life in Architecture and The Arts. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995.
City of Seattle DPD Microfilm Records.
Architectural Drawing Collection, University of Washington Libraries [Northwest Motor Co.- ID# 5550]

Photo collection for 1017 Olive WAY / Parcel ID 0660001725 / Inv #


Photo taken May 17, 2006

Photo taken May 17, 2006
App v2.0.1.0