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Summary for 4409 50TH AVE / Parcel ID 4154304415 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Common Name:
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Columbia City
Built By: Year Built: 1947

This property is significant through due to its architectural quality and intactness. It is an excellent example of mid-20th twentieth century Modern design and retains many of its original features, including: windows, signage, small massing, and setback.

This commercial property is located west of Columbia City in South Seattle. It was constructed around 1947. By 1948, Lakewood Sport Shop occupied the building. It was vacant for a period in 1951;, but, from 1953 through 1969, the property was occupied by Seward Park Realty. Today, it operates as Jeffrey Taylor State Farm Insurance Company.

Substantial residential and commercial development in South Seattle and the Rainier Valley occurred when a transportation corridor connecting the Rainier Valley to downtown and Seattle’s industrial district was constructed along Rainier Avenue during the late 19th nineteenth century. Development in the valley was facilitated by logging during the 1880s, the operation of the Rainier Valley Electric Railway in the 1890s, and the Jackson and Dearborn Street re-grades in the 1900s. Milling was the primary commercial industry during the last part of the 19th nineteenth century although some agricultural activity existed. As residential development increased, Rainier Avenue gradually became the principal commercial corridor connecting the residential neighborhoods of South Seattle to downtown, the International District, and Seattle’s industrial districts. World War II brought additional building growth related to the wartime industry, as well as and the influx of defense workers to nearby Boeing and the Duwamish shipyards.

The rectangular lot for this retail commercial property is located between South Genesee Street and South Oregon Street. The building faces eastwards onto 50th Avenue South, and a large parking lot is located behind the building. The structure was constructed around 1947, and its Modern commercial design has Googie  stylistic influences. It is one story with a rectangular floor plan, a poured concrete foundation, a platform- framed superstructure, and a parapet roof. The front facade is characterized by a curved, prominent drip course or suspended awning with stylized aluminum trim. Windows on the front facade extend the length of the building and rise from the ground to the drip edge, angling outwards. This creates the appearance of a raking curtain wall that breaks the traditional vertical plane and gives the building a different geometric shape. One doorway is located on either side of the facade, indicating that the building historically contained two different retail units. A rectangular, vertical marquee with a clock at the top divides the two units. The building is clad in stucco on the front facade and brick veneer along the sides. This building retains its Mid-Century Modern features and has certain characteristics that are unusual in South Seattle. Therefore, it remains a significant architectural feature in the Columbia City neighborhood.

Detail for 4409 50TH AVE / Parcel ID 4154304415 / Inv # 0

Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Interior: Unknown
Major Bibliographic References
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Dorpat, Paul, “101 The Railroad Avenue Elevated,” Seattle, Now and Then, Seattle: Tartu Publications, 1984.
Bagley, Clarence B. History of Seattle, Washington. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1916.
Berner, Richard. Seattle 1921-1940: From Boom to Bust. Seattle: Charles Press, 1992.

Photo collection for 4409 50TH AVE / Parcel ID 4154304415 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jan 07, 2010

Photo taken Jan 07, 2010

Photo taken Jan 07, 2010

Photo taken Jan 07, 2010
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