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Summary for 700 N 50th ST N / Parcel ID 0725049001 / Inv # DPR109

Historic Name: Woodland Park Zoo Maintenance Shops Common Name:
Style: Arts & Crafts, Arts & Crafts - Craftsman Neighborhood: Green Lake
Built By: Year Built: 1917
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
This complex of wood frame buildings was constructed over a period of time and has served a variety of functions. The largest structure, which now serves as the zoo’s commissary, was built in 1925 as the Indoor Floral Hall to complement the adjacent formal Rose Garden. The smaller barn was constructed in 1917 along with several other maintenance shops. In 1899, the Parks Department acquired the 180-acre Woodland Park from the estate of Guy C. Phinney, a wealthy lumber mill owner and real estate developer. In the late 1880s, Phinney paid $10,000 for 342 acres of land along what we now call Phinney Ridge and down the slope to Green Lake and kept more than half of it for himself. He then spent $40,000 converting his land into an elegant English-style estate named Woodland Park, complete with a large domed conservatory and formal gardens, and generously opened his estate to the public as long as they obeyed his conspicuously posted rules. Since the location was considered far from the center of town, Phinney also installed a streetcar line down the hill to the town of Fremont. Phinney’s untimely death in 1893 at the age of 41 left his estate unfinished. Six years later, his widow sold the property to the city despite significant controversy over the $100,000 asking price and the distant location, and opposition by Mayor Thomas J. Humes. In 1903, the city hired the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm to prepare plans for a comprehensive park and boulevard system, including suggestions for improvements to existing parks. This move was largely brought on by the public interest generated for the planned Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and through the purchase of Woodland Park and the acquisition of Washington Park, two large tracts of mostly undeveloped land. A general plan for the landscape development of Woodland Park was included in the initial report prepared by the firm, but a more detailed plan with 65 drawings was not completed until 1910. Within four years, the park had been almost entirely reconstructed following the detailed plans of the Olmsted Brothers, which incorporated many of the existing features. These plans included a zoological garden for the upper area of Woodland Park and athletic fields and a picnic grove for the lower eastern half. The Olmsted Brothers also sited a service area for the park in a location off of North 50th Street at Linden Avenue North. As was the case with other large parks such as Volunteer Park, a foreman’s house was constructed in 1911, and maintenance shops were built in 1917 in a service yard to the east of the Fremont Avenue North entrance. This was in the vicinity of the site recommended by the Olmsted Brothers. Although the buildings were sited so as to be as inconspicuous as possible, an obvious effort was made to provide architecturally attractive facilities for one of the city’s most important park. The Olmsted plans also called for a formal flower garden in the upper area near the Fremont Avenue North entrance. However, this proposed garden was not realized until 1922 when the Seattle Rose Society conceived of the idea of Civic Rose Garden. In that year, the Park Board established a formal Rose Garden on the eastern side of the Fremont Avenue North entrance but west of the service yard. Two years later, the Society and the Lions Club sponsored the creation of a pool at the northern end of the garden, containing the "Old Faithful Fountain" and bas-relief designed by Alice Carr. In 1925, the Parks Department constructed the large Indoor Floral Hall within the service yard but adjacent to the Rose Garden. For over a decade, this building was the setting for Annual Flower Shows of many species. Between 1938 and 1940, the hall was used as an indoor tennis center until local tennis clubs were allowed to use the gyms of Seattle School District buildings. During the Second World War, the hall was briefly used for ordnance purposes by the Army, which had leased the Lower Woodland Park athletic fields as a site for temporary barracks. From 1943 to 1975, the hall became the center of the Parks Department’s Maintenance Division Shop area, together with the other buildings in the service yard. With the expansion of the zoo under the Forward Thrust program, activities not related to the zoo were removed from the zoo grounds, and the Parks Maintenance Shops were converted to support services solely for the zoo. With its Craftsman stylistic features, the former Indoor Floral Hall building is significant for its design and for its association with the development of Woodland Park. The more utilitarian barn is significant solely for its association with the development of the park.
Located at the southern end of the Woodland Park Zoo to the east of the Rose Garden, this facility consists of a number of buildings set in a large yard enclosed by a chain link fence. The largest of these is a one-story rectangular plan structure, which occupies the center of the yard. Completed in 1925, this gable roof wood-frame building has a one-story addition at the eastern end of the north elevation. The later concrete block structure has a flat roof with higher parapet walls on the east, west and south sides. This Vernacular building’s Craftsman stylistic details include a wood shingle exterior cladding, bracketed eaves, and kneebraces supporting the bargeboards covering the overhanging gable ends. On the west elevation, an arbor set flush to the wall frames the original double french doors within the center entrance. Eight multi-paned windows hinged at the top line the rest of the elevation on either side of the entrance. The north elevation has nine identical windows covering the western half. Situated east of center, a single entrance door and a large overhead door adjoin the addition, which fills most of the eastern half of the elevation. The addition has an overhead door on the west elevation and a band of windows within a single opening on the east elevation. The east elevation of the main block features an overhead door at the northern end, which opens onto a concrete loading dock off the northeast corner. Two multi-paned windows at the peak of the gable end are the only other openings on this elevation. The eastern half of the south elevation presents a blank wall while the western half has seven large and two small multi-paned windows. This attractive structure remains intact with very good physical integrity. A smaller one-story barn is located south of this structure. Completed in 1917, this wood frame building has a rectangular plan and a later addition on the west elevation, which houses a carpentry shop. The original horizontal rustic siding sheathes all but the south elevation. The T-1-11 plywood paneling on this elevation covers the original multi-paned wood windows. On the principal east elevation, a large opening at the northern end has a vertical board sliding door. On the upper floor level, an entrance opening with a pair of wood doors is situated below a boom, which extends from the peak of the gable end. The north elevation presents a blank wall with the exception of a small multi-paned window set high on the wall at the western end. On the rear west elevation, a new entrance door has been installed at the northern end adjacent to the later addition. Due to the additions and alterations, this modest structure has only fair physical integrity.

Detail for 700 N 50th ST N / Parcel ID 0725049001 / Inv # DPR109

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Shingle, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Other Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Agriculture, Community Planning/Development, Conservation, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
The History of the Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo Website (

Photo collection for 700 N 50th ST N / Parcel ID 0725049001 / Inv # DPR109

Photo taken Nov 27, 2000

Photo taken Nov 27, 2000
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