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Summary for 1014 1st AVE / Parcel ID 7666206690 / Inv #

Historic Name: M. F. Backus Warehouse Common Name: Olympic Reprographics
Style: Beaux Arts - Neoclassical, Commercial Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1907
 
Significance
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
This substantial masonry and concrete warehouse was built for Manson F. Backus in 1907 and designed by James Blackwell. Its main façade is well-composed and uses a variety of brick detailing to achieve most of its decorative effects. Despite changes to its fenestration at the storefront level and at upper levels, it retains the most important architectural details of the original design. It was built in the period from 1900 to 1910, when the commercial center of Seattle experienced explosive economic and physical growth, as well as railroad and port expansion. During this time, First Avenue South, south of King Street was developed and the neighboring tideflats were filled. Manson F. Backus, who became a successful banker and businessman, came to Seattle after the Great Fire of 1889. With E.O. Graves, who built the warehouse immediately to the south, he established the Washington National Bank, which became the National Bank of Commerce in 1906 and then Rainier National Bank. Backus served as President of the bank until 1932 and founded many Northwest banking enterprises. He was associated with a large number of trust, timber and land enterprises throughout Washington State. He was also a University of Washington Regent before and after the Alaska Yukon Exposition of 1909. James E. Blackwell, an architect and consulting engineer, is credited and best known for his western addition to Elmer Fisher and Emil DeNeuf’s Mutual Life Building. In 1912, as part of the firm of Blackwell and Baker, he was also associated with the addition of the top two floors of the Washington Shoe Building (formerly the Frink Building). He designed the neighboring E. O. Graves Warehouse at 1022 First Avenue South. He served as President of the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects and was active in city planning. The contractor for the building, Cawsey Z. Lohse, was also the contractor for the Morrison Hotel in the Pioneer Square Historic District. The building is listed as contributing in the City of Seattle’s 1988 Boundary Increase to the Pioneer Square Historic District, but is not considered as part of the National Register District.
 
Appearance
This is four story building, with an exterior structure of brick and of concrete and built with an original interior structure of heavy timber post and beam. It has a full basement in concrete and a concrete foundation. Its footprint is 63 feet facing the street by 150 feet. Like most of the buildings in the Boundary Extension to the district, its main façade, which is in buff or light brown brick, is on First Avenue South. The façade has a two-part composition and is divided into three bays. The entire wood and plate glass storefront has been remodeled and replaced, with the exception of two cast iron columns, which exhibit distinctive, decorative swirl patterns near their capitals and toward the bottom of their shafts. Above a classical belt-course, the three story vertical bays are separated by three story piers with bases and Doric capitals. Between the capitals, the bays are terminated by corbelling, which is surmounted by a thin belt-course in brick molding and then by a corbelled parapet cap. At each of the upper floors, each recessed bay consists of two, well-spaced openings. Historic photos, probably from around the 1930s, suggest that windows were two over two windows of some sort. They have been replaced by six-lite steel sash, which pivots horizontally. The back elevation has a similar two-part composition in red brick.

Detail for 1014 1st AVE / Parcel ID 7666206690 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Integrity
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
City of Seattle, Department of Planning and Development, Microfilm Records.
Krafft, Katheryn Hills. “Pioneer Square – Skid Road Historic District (Boundary Increase).” submitted 15 December, 1987 and approved 6 May, 1988.
Seattle Public Library Biography File, M. F. Backus File.

Photo collection for 1014 1st AVE / Parcel ID 7666206690 / Inv #


Photo taken Jul 26, 2004

Photo taken Jul 26, 2004
App v2.0.1.0