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Summary for 101 23rd AVE / Parcel ID 9826701650 / Inv # SFD003

Historic Name: Fire Station No. 6 Common Name:
Style: Art Deco Neighborhood: Central Area
Built By: Year Built: 1932
 
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.
Completed in 1932, this small fire station, which serves the Central Area, is located across the street diagonally from the 1913 Douglass-Truth Branch of the Seattle Public Library. With its distinctive transom patterned with zigzag lightning bolts and its Art Deco and Moderne stylistic features, this fire station is unique among all others in Seattle. Designed by the prominent Seattle Architect Bertram Dudley Stuart, this building replaced the original 1894 two-story wood frame building located on the same corner lot. This earlier station, one of nine fire stations that were built between 1894 and 1908 using a similar design, was the first permanent home of the first company in the neighborhoods east of downtown. Chemical Company No. 3 operated out of rented quarters between May 19, 1891 and June 23, 1893 when it was replaced by Engine Company No. 6. The new engine company continued to occupy the rented quarters at 24th Avenue South and South Jackson Street until August 13, 1894 when their first permanent station was completed. This area immediately to the east of Seattle’s initial townsite in Pioneer Square was part of the original city limits incorporated in 1869. Although these limits extended from Elliott Bay on the west to the shores of Lake Washington on the east, little residential or commercial development occurred east of the Pioneer Square area until after 1887. On September 28, 1887, the Lake Washington Cable Railway, the brainchild of L.H. Thompson and Fred Sander, inaugurated cable car service between Pioneer Square and Leschi Park. The cars traveled east on Yesler Way and returned west on Jackson Street. Establishment of this cable car line as well as other electric streetcar lines in the next five years quickly brought substantial development to the neighborhoods along Yesler Way. This increased density resulted in the creation of the first fire department company outside of the downtown area in 1891 and the first permanent fire station in 1894. Born in England in 1885, Bertram Dudley Stuart practiced in Canada before his arrival in Seattle in 1918. In 1925, Stuart established a partnership with Arthur Wheatley, which lasted until 1930. The firm was well known for its residential and commercial projects, especially for a number of large apartment buildings and hotels. These included the 1926 Bergonian Hotel (now the Mayflower Hotel), the 1927 Exeter House Apartments, and the 1926-27 Marlborough Apartments. Stuart designed this fire station shortly after the dissolution of his partnership with Wheatley. In later years, Stuart worked in partnership with Robert L. Durham and Paul Hayden Kirk, two architects whom he had previously employed as draftsmen. In 1986, a substantial renovation and rehabilitation of the building added a new wing on the south elevation, entirely in keeping with the original design. This fire station is significant for its design and for its associations with the development of the Seattle Fire Department and the Central Area neighborhood.
 
Appearance
Completed in 1932, this architecturally distinctive reinforced concrete building occupies a prominent location at the southwest corner of 23rd Avenue South and East Yesler Way. The building’s Art Deco design features includes a stepped façade on the principal east elevation, which rises above a blocky horizontal base, smooth stucco walls incised with decorative lines, and fluted parapet walls along the rooflines. Originally, the flat roof building was comprised of three sections, creating a rectangular footprint. The taller engine bay occupied the southeast corner of the building and adjoined the one-story office at the northeast corner. The remaining one-story L-shaped portion, which wrapped the northwest corner of the building, contained the crew quarters with a basement level accessible by a door on the west elevation. A 1986 renovation project added the wing, which extends from the original south elevation of the building. This resulted in a building with an L-plan. The sympathetic design of the new wing blends seamlessly with that of the original structure and adds symmetry to the façade. The newer south wing houses additional living quarters. All of the original multi-paned sash have been replaced, however the modern equivalents do not detract from the building’s appearance. With its distinctive stepped parapet, the center engine bay dominates the principal east elevation and contains two openings below the patterned transom with zigzag lightning bolts. The metal lightning bolts emanate from a concrete pier with a skyscraper form, which separates the openings and extends into the transom above. Each opening contains a pair of double doors set with a multi-paned window at the center. These doors are similar to the originals, which were later replaced by modern overhead doors. The 1986 renovation removed the overhead doors and installed the sympathetic reproductions. The engine bay has three small multi-paned windows along its north and south elevations, which extend above the lower roofs of the adjoining office and crew quarters. Situated at the rear of the engine bay, a small hose tower displays the same fine detailing as the rest of the building. The wing on the northern end of the east elevation has a door at the center flanked by a pair of windows. The newer wing on the southern end has three windows. Windows also line the north and south elevations in openings of various sizes. The rear west elevation of the main block has six windows at the first-story level above three windows and two single door entrances at the lower basements level, which opens onto a small parking area. The newer wing has a single window at the center of its rear west elevation. Well maintained, this finely detailed and architecturally distinctive structure has excellent physical integrity in spite of the later alterations.

Detail for 101 23rd AVE / Parcel ID 9826701650 / Inv # SFD003

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Government - Fire Station Plan: L-Shape
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Politics/Government/Law
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Seattle Fire Department, Centennial Commemorative, 1889-1989. Portland, OR: Taylor Pub. Co., c1989.

Photo collection for 101 23rd AVE / Parcel ID 9826701650 / Inv # SFD003


Photo taken Nov 08, 2000
App v2.0.1.0