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Summary for Pioneer PL / Parcel ID / Inv #

Historic Name: Pergola/ Comfort Station Common Name: Pergola
Style: Beaux Arts - American Renaissance Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1910
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.
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The Pergola is also listed on the National Register as part of a smaller grouping which includes the Pioneer Building and the Totem Pole, all located in Pioneer Place. Designed by architect Julian Everett, this open air structure has become the symbol not just of Pioneer Place, but of the entire Pioneer Square- Skid Road National Historic District. It was built, in part, to greet the many visitors who came to Seattle for the Alaska Yukon Exposition, located on the new campus of the University of Washington. The Pergola served not only as a shelter, but also as the upper part of the underground comfort station, frequently described, because of the elegance of its design as the “Queen Mary of Johns.” Both parts of the project were completed in November, 1909 with finishing touches to the “superstructure” completed during the week of January 15, 1910. The whole project was described in glowing terms in 1910 in Pacific Builder and Engineer: “The man of travels will find nowhere in the Eastern hemisphere a sub-surface public comfort station equal in character to that which has recently been completed in the downtown district of Seattle..” There was initial resistance to the Pergola and the comfort station by the local Seattle press and owners of property near it, before construction. Once it was completed, it was hailed as a wonderful addition to an area still considered an important commercial center: “Three of the four nearest street corners are occupied by banks, and the fourth by the city ticket office of one of the transcontinental railroads. Two of the crosstown and the Tacoma interurban car lines terminate within a block of it; it is also passed by a large majority of the Puget Sound and coastwise steamship passengers. It is on the base of the triangle, the apex of which is occupied by the totem pole that has made Seattle famous.” The architect of the Pergola and comfort station, Julian Everett studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This suggests a new trend in Seattle in the 1900s, when architectural practitioners of some education and sophistication began to arrive in Seattle. During the decade before, many of the architects came into the field of architecture through the building trades and/or had received no formal education in architecture. Julian Everett had an independent practice in Seattle from 1904 to 1922. Aside from the Pergola, he designed Pilgrim Congregational Church (1905-6) and Temple de Hirsch (1906-08), which has been destroyed (aside from one small portion), both in Seattle. By the 1970s, the Pergola itself had fallen into disrepair and its canopy was covered with sheet metal. After carefully researching the structure, Ilze Jones of Jones & Jones Architecture and Landscape Architecture did a restoration of the Pergola, based on original drawings, interviews and photographs in the Webster Stevens photograph collection. In 2000, an errant Fedex truck clipped the Pergola, reducing it to a heap of beautiful cast-iron parts. The City of Seattle hired Seidelhuber Iron Works, thought to have been the original fabricators of the Pergola, to recast certain elements and reconstruct the Pergola. The restored structure was designed to withstand future earthquakes, with new steel structural elements hidden inside of the original columns and vent columns. These new structural elements are then tied together below ground by a common foundation. The added structure has also been designed to make the entire structure seismically safe.
The now well-known cast-iron pergola, which was built in 1909 and completed early in 1910, is mainly sited along Yesler Way at the base of the triangle that describes Pioneer Place. It consists of delicate intersecting barrel vaults of glass, which have a cast-iron framework and are supported on ornate columns with Corinthian capitals. The structure has a ridge line ornamented with repeated circular rings in bent iron, ornamented brackets and finials, as well as garland reliefs on the column shafts. In addition, four separate ventilating columns for the original underground comfort station are beautifully decorated with similar motifs. The ventilating columns double as light standards and carry tiers of round light globes.

Detail for Pioneer PL / Parcel ID / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Structure District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Glass, Metal, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured, Other
Roof Type(s): Barrel Vault Roof Material(s): Metal
Building Type: Landscape - Street Furniture/Object Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Other No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
“Special Problems of Comfort Station Designs.” Pacific Builder and Engineer, 29 January 1910, pp. 34-36.
Kreisman, Lawrence. Made to Last, Historic Preservation in Seattle. Seattle: Historic Preservation Foundation and University of Washington Press, 1999.
Ilze Jones. Interview by Mildred Tanner Andrews and Leonard Garfield (transcript). Seattle, 30 October, 2000.

Photo collection for Pioneer PL / Parcel ID / Inv #

Photo taken Dec 08, 2004

Photo taken Dec 08, 2004
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