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Summary for 4860 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702901055 / Inv #

Historic Name: Grayson and Brown Buidling Common Name: Revival Lighting
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Columbia City
Built By: Year Built: 1909; 1923
David W. Brown built the subject building in 1909. The building was the location of the offices of the local newspaper, the Record, which had a printing press powered by a kerosene motor. The building evolved over the years as the business it housed, Grayson and Brown Hardware, grew. The business began in 1904 as Grayson Brothers Hardware and Furniture, located at 4854 Rainier Avenue S., the south storefront of the Toby Building. The business grew and in 1911, owners Ed and Stacy (Doc) Grayson moved next door, into the subject building. Brown was superintendent of the Seattle, Renton and Southern Streetcar Line, which ran past the front of the building on Rainier Avenue South, Brown left the streetcar company in 1916 and went into partnership with Ed Grayson, to operate Grayson and Brown Hardware and Furniture Company. In 1923, a two-story brick addition to the Brown building was constructed to the north at a cost of $7000. The floor and roof joists were attached directly to the Toby building, so that the two buildings share a party wall. Architect John L. McCauley, a resident of Columbia City, who designed eight other buildings in the Columbia City business district, designed the addition. In 1946 a two-story addition was added to the east (back) of the building. At the same time, an entry was opened into the ground floor of the Toby building, giving Grayson and Brown access to the Toby Block through to the entrance on S. Edmunds Street. A stairway to the basement of the Toby building was also installed and the basement was used for storage. The second floor apartments and physician’s offices in the Brown Building, which had been the traditional uses of the second floor since the building was built, were removed in the early 1970s so that the business could expand with a furniture sales area on the second floor. This was the zenith of the business, as in the late 1970s the neighborhood began to deteriorate. The Brown Building was sold out of the Brown family in 1984, although the business still existed, on a much smaller scale, run by the grandson of D.W. Brown, who resides in the Columbia City area. The Grayson and Brown Hardware Company Building at 4860 Rainier Avenue South is significant architecturally, as a well-designed and well-preserved building in the historic district. It was rehabilitated in 2001, by owner Robert Mohn with Adams Mohler Architects, with the approval of the Columbia City Review Committee and Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board. It is significant for its association with the Grayson and Brown Hardware Company, an early business in Columbia City and throughout much of the twentieth century.
This two-story commercial vernacular building is of frame and masonry construction and is supported by a concrete foundation. The building has a flat roof with a simple cornice and irregular rectangular plan. A shallower two-story addition was added to the north side elevation of the building in 1923, filling in the space between the subject building and the Toby Building. The building was originally clad in brick veneer, which still exists on the south side elevation; the building is now clad in stucco. The fenestration consists of two second-story bay windows on the original 1909 portion of the building. The bay windows, with paneled aprons, each feature three new one-over-one single hung windows; the original windows had decorative diamond shaped pane upper sashes. The 1923 addition features two pairs of one-over-one windows. The building has two storefront bays and a central arched entrance to the upper floors. The storefronts were rebuilt in 2001 with the approval of the Columbia City Review Committee and Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board and are each currently composed of an inset entrance with expansive plate glass windows with transom windows above. Separate metal canopys below the transom windows cover each storefront.

Detail for 4860 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702901055 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Slight
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.
Centennial History, Columbia City, Rainier Valley, 1853-1991, Pioneers of Columbia City. Seattle, Washington, 1992.
Anderson, Buzz. “Grayson and Brown Were Early Retail Pioneers,” Beacon Hill News and South District Journal, page 10, 6/12/2002.

Photo collection for 4860 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702901055 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 22, 2004
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