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Summary for 1301 Alaskan WAY / Parcel ID 7666202435 / Inv #

Historic Name: Pier 6/ John B. Agen Dock/ The Milwaukee Pier Common Name: Pier 57
Style: Commercial, Other - Utilitarian Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1902
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).
Renamed Pier 57 during World War II, Pier 6 was erected in 1902 by the Miller and Geske Construction Company. Alterations were made soon after in 1903, with lengthening of the wharf in 1906. In 1911, further modifications, which included the repair of pilings and the addition of new bracing, were made. The pier was originally built for the John B. Agen Company. In the 1890s, John Agen had warehouse space in the Union Trust Building, designed by the architecture firm of Skillings and Corner (Pioneer Square). Agen’s Alaska Butter and Cream Company took up most of the pier shed, which mainly operated as a cold storage warehouse. A two story box on the eastern side of the pier shed, however, was occupied by a combination of offices and retail, easily accessible from Railroad Avenue (Alaskan Way). In 1909, the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company, sometimes referred to in abbreviated form, on signs and in drawn documents, as the “C. M. & St P. Ry Co.,” took over the pier. Meanwhile John Agen commissioned architect John Graham to design a large cold storage warehouse, which still stands off of Seneca Street, between Alaskan Way and Western Avenue (1203 Western Avenue). Completed in 1910, the “warehouse for John B. Agen & Company” became known as the Olympic Warehouse and Cold Storage and is on the National Register of Historic Places. According to Baist Maps from 1905 and 1908, under Agen’s ownership, the pier had one railway spur located on the south side of the pier. Once the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company owned the dock, at least by 1911, there were railroad spurs along both the north and south sides of the pier. Like the adjacent Piers 3, 4 and 5 (or 54, 55, 56), constructed by the Northern Pacific Railway, Pier 6/ 57 was sited and constructed according to the uniform northeast-southwest angle, prescribed by City Engineer Reginald Thomson and Assistant City Engineer George Cotterill in the 1897 tidelands replat. Previously, the piers along Elliott Bay had generally been constructed at a right angle to the waterfront. Thomson saw this earlier configuration as a cause of future transportation and siting problems. Another advantage of the new design was that trains, traveling from Railroad Avenue and loading and unloading at the pier, would not be forced to turn at a sharp right angle. Despite the ownership of the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company, a 1912 photo reveals that the pier shed still bore a large sign, describing it as the “John B. Agen Dock.” Other signs advertised the “Gordon Dock and Grain Company, Shipping Storage, Lime, Cement, Plaster, Hay, Grain, Feed,” the “North American Transportation and Trading Company,” as well as “Henry Doyle & Co., Fish Nets, Twines & Supplies.” By 1915, Pier 6 bore a sign describing it as the Milwaukee Pier. Signs also advertised the McCormick Steamship Line, the Munson McCormick Line and Osaka Shosen Kaisha. By this time, the pier shed has been painted a darker color and had white or light colored lettering. By the mid-1930s, the general appearance of the pier shed had not significantly changed since 1915. Although still called the Milwaukee Pier No. 6, and sporting a special sign advertising the “Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul,” the building also had a large sign across its east façade, proclaiming it the “McCormick Terminal.” Somewhat later, in 1938, a Seattle-Post Intelligencer photograph also documented a labor dispute by seamen gathered in front of pier, along the Alaskan Way, while drawings from the 1950s suggest that at that time, at least a portion of the building was being used for fish processing: the Callender Engineering Company designed a refrigeration-storage room in 1954 for the Kayler-Dahl Fish Company; a design for a new “fish sawing room” was produced in 1957. By the 1960s, the Port of Seattle, who then owned the pier, had cut “fishing holes” into its deck. During the same period, the City of Seattle became interested in renovating the pier and its shed, in developing what became Waterfront Park, and creating an aquarium. By this time, the pilings under the pier had settled unevenly and the exterior cladding was in poor shape. In 1968, Seattle voters passed a Forward Thrust Bond, which provided initial funding for these projects and in 1971, the City of Seattle formally purchased Pier 57 from the Port of Seattle. Work on the renovation of Pier 57 was completed in 1974. During the same period, Waterfront Park, located on the site of the former Schwabacher Wharf, at the former Pier 7, Pier 58, was designed by the Bumgardner Partnership and consultants. Currently known as the Bay Pavilion, Pier 57 features a restaurant, several shops, including one with a nautical theme, an amusement arcade, as well as an early Twentieth Century carousel. Along with Piers 54 to 59, Pier 57 retains the most important elements of its original appearance and a strong sense of its original architectural character and workmanship. All represent the last and best examples of Seattle’s waterfront transit sheds, that played an important role in the development of Seattle’s early economy. Pier 57, is particularly significant because of its association with John B. Agen, who played a significant role in the development of Seattle’s early economy. Of four adjacent piers (the other three are Piers 54, 55 and 56), it is significant as the only pier owned and operated by the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company, while the others were owned by the Northern Pacific Railroad.
This wooden pier is located on the former Pier 6, now Pier 57, on the Seattle waterfront, near the foot of University Street. Like the other pier structures, the pier itself is more or less a parallelogram, whose approximate dimensions are 156 feet in width and 442 feet in length. The pier is supported by timber pilings, set approximately 3 feet on center in the north-south direction, and approximately 10 feet on center in the east-west direction. Bridged with heavy timber, the pilings are also topped by heavy timber decking. The one story pier is basically a parallelogram, approximately 140 feet in width and 400 feet in length, although the very end of western side of the shape has been slightly modified. The angled side has been squared off and the western side of the long shed has a hipped roof. On its eastern end, the heavy timber frame pier shed presents a lower two-story “box,” which has a flat roof and an ornamental cornice, with repeated brackets. Behind this is a taller, one story space, which is similar to neighboring pier buildings. On the interior, a series of six panel Howe trusses spans all three bays of the building width. The Howe trusses support a relatively shallow and simple light frame monitor roof structure, creating an exterior central bay. From the exterior, the roof is pitched and a north-south section reveals a profile similar to the other piers, with each of the lower outer bays presenting a shed roof. From the east, however, a false front with a curved profile, set behind the “box,” mostly masks this typical profile and the angled roof shape. On the longer, north and south elevations, the monitor roof is expressed as a series of clerestory window openings, which allow light to penetrate into the interior. As with the other pier structures, exterior walls, formerly clad with V-groove fir siding, are wood clad on the exterior. A large opening with sliding wood doors was originally set at the center of the first level of the east facade. This opening actually appears to have been retained, but is hidden behind a false curved door frame. Based on photos from 1912, 1915 and 1935, a row of double hung windows in wood frames were set at the second level. Although the number of windows appears to have increased from 1912 to 1915 and again in 1935, the windows in the 1935 photo appear to have been retained. Extant drawings from the 1900s are dated in a confusing manner, with two dates given on the same sheet, “March 12, 1902,” and “1911.” 1911 may possibly only refer to one drawing on the sheet. In any case, the box-like, east wing of the building is definitely shown in these early drawings. At the very latest, the east wing dates from about 1911 and predates most of the other modifications made over time to this working pier shed. Although the building was extensively remodeled in 1974 and acquired some new glazing and a structural upgrade, many of the most obvious exterior changes seem to be reversible.

Detail for 1301 Alaskan WAY / Parcel ID 7666202435 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Structure District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Wood Foundation(s): Other
Roof Type(s): Flat, Gable, Monitor Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition, Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Timber Frame No. of Stories: one & ½
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Community Planning/Development, Manufacturing/Industry, Politics/Government/Law, Social Movements & Organizations, Transportation
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Slight
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Dorpat, Paul. Seattle Waterfront: An Illustrated History. Seattle, June 2005.
Sheridan, Mimi. “SR 99: Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Project Historic Resources Inventory.” Draft, ca. 2004.
“Ships at Pier 6, Seattle, 1912.” Museum of History and Industry Photograph Collection, Image Number: 1983.10.6754
Dorpat, Paul, Walt Crowley, Chris Goodman. “Point 6: Waterfront Park: Pier 57,” in “Port of Seattle Central Waterfront Cybertour,” ca. 2003?,

Photo collection for 1301 Alaskan WAY / Parcel ID 7666202435 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 20, 2006
App v2.0.1.0