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Summary for 1943 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 7666207160 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: O. B. Williams Company Common Name: 1941 Lofts/ Cafe Macrina
Style: Beaux Arts - Neoclassical, Commercial Neighborhood: Duwamish
Built By: Year Built: 1910
 
Significance

Architect: Siebrand and Heide

Although there are significant changes to the ground level storefronts, overall, the building still presents the most important elements of its well-designed façade. It is also associated with an early Washington State business, which has endured to this day.

1943 1st Avenue South was originally designed as a warehouse for client O. B. Williams, based on drawings from March 1910. The drawing titleblock also shows the architects as  “Carl Siebrand  - A. F. Heide.” The building directly adjoined and still adjoins the now very altered timber complex – which now presents itself behind one long wooden façade - at 1939 1st Avenue S, to the north. Although the O. B. Williams Company, known for its architectural woodwork, no longer uses or owns1943 1st Avenue South, the woodworking company is still in existence and is still housed in the adjoining building to the north. According to historian Clarence Bagley, O. B . Williams, the founder of the company, died in 1924. Records indicate that the building was still in the Williams family at least until 1937 and probably as late as 1944. By 1956 until at least the mid-1960s, the MacDougall-Southwick Company, a department store, occupied the building. By 1970, Harry Lumstead Designs, furniture manufacturers, were in the building. Although vacant in 1974, by 1980, it housed Flowercraft Supply. By 1990, this business had been succeeded by the Wiley-Bayley Agency.


There seems to be relatively little information on the architectural partnership of Siebrand and Heide. There is more information on the individual partners. Carl Siebrand was born in Germany in 1866 and arrived in Seattle in 1889. He worked as a draughtsman for Warren Skillings in 1893. Later, during 1894-5, he was part of the partnership of Chamberlin and Siebrand. (Chamberlin is well-known as a delineator and illustrator. He worked as an illustrator for many well-known Seattle post-fire architects, such as Saunders and Houghton, John Parkinson and William Boone). Sources suggest that, after 1896, Siebrand practiced mainly independently. By 1895, he appears as a member of the newly formed Washington State chapter of the American Institute of Architects, although other sources give his AIA membership dates as 1919 to 1927. He was also responsible for the Horace C. Henry House (1894) and buildings at the Bremerton Navy Yard, also built during the late 1890s. He apparently died in 1938.


August Franklin Heide is best known in Seattle as part of the partnership of DeNeuf and Heide. (DeNeuf inherited Elmer Fisher’s practice, after Fisher apparently decided to give up his architectural practice in 1891). Heide, however, is also associated with the cities of Tacoma and especially Everett, Washington. August Heide was born in Alton, Illinois in 1862. He appears to have studied architecture in Chicago and, at least after moving West, first practiced in Los Angeles. He arrived in Washington (Territory) in 1889. Early on, he did major work in the cities of Everett and Tacoma, where he designed Harstad Hall (1892) at Pacific Lutheran University. In 1891, Heide formed a partnership with Charles Hove in Tacoma. In Tacoma, the two men made the acquaintanceship of Henry Hewitt, sometimes described as the “father of Everett.” Hove and Heide became architects for the Everett Development Company. They are generally credited with shaping the development of early Everett and for the design of major buildings as well as houses there. Heide designed his own home, which dates from 1895, at 2107 Rucker Avenue, as well as the Butler Jackson House at 1703 Grand Avenue (1910), which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Heide also designed the Washington State Buildings at both the Pan Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco and at the San Diego Exposition, both completed in 1914. He died in 1943.

Together Siebrand and Heide were also responsible for the 1910 reconstruction and redesign in the Mission Revival style of the fire damaged Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett, Washington.


The client, Owen Bullis Williams was the founder the O.B. Williams Company. Accounts concerning the founding of the company and the year of its creation vary somewhat. According to the present O.B. Williams Company website, Owen Williams founded the company in Everett, Washington in 1889. On the other hand, both Clarence Bagley in the History of King County and C.H. Hanford in Seattle and Environs give a different account. After leaving his home state of Michigan at about age 15, O. B. Williams moved to Tacoma. He worked first in a lumber yard and then for a glazier and became very proficient in that trade. In 1889, he opened a store in Fairhaven (now Bellingham), but then moved to Canada. Between 1894 and 1895, he was involved in placer mining in British Columbia. He also worked as a contractor in Rossland, British Columbia, where he was very successful for a time, but then suffered huge losses.

According to the Bagley and Hanford accounts, he only returned to Seattle in 1899, when he invested in a “stock of sash, doors and glass.” He opened a store, apparently selling these types of items, at 400 Main Street. He then moved to 1010 Western Avenue and became involved in the actual manufacture of sash and doors. Both accounts mention that he bought the property at 1943 First Avenue in 1910 and “there erected a three story cement building containing more than an acre of floor space.” So clearly, based on the Bagley and Hanford accounts, 1943 1st Avenue South was the original building constructed for the O. B. Williams Company.


Based on the present O.B. Williams website, Hannah Williams, O. B. Willliams’ wife, took ownership after her husband’s death and a legal battle.  During the 1940s, Ray McCoy became president and by 1946, owned the company. During the late 1950s, he was succeeded by his son, Leon McCoy, and then in 1992, by his grand daughter Susan McCoy. David Wick is the company’s present owner and president, but the O. B. Williams company and name endures to this day.  One of their most recent and well-known jobs is the interior millwork in Benaroya Hall in Seattle.


Additional Source
O. B. Williams website, http://obwilliams.com/

 
Appearance

This three-story building is rectangular in plan, 150 feet along First Avenue South and 78 feet in depth. It has concrete exterior walls and a heavy timber interior structure, which includes a regular grid pattern of heavy timber columns.


The main façade along First Avenue South has a classical, symmetrical composition. Three interior bays are flanked at each end by a wide end bay. The central bay is also the same width as the end bays. A raised, stepped parapet further emphasizes each end bay with an angled shape. Continuous concrete piers mark the bays. At the ground level, the piers are expressed as pilasters, topped by Doric capitals. Historically storefront or entryways, topped by vertical bands of clerestory window, and then a low set of windows, which may have been operable, filled the first level bays. At present, there are new storefronts, which, from their appearance, clearly date from a recent renovation around the late 2000s. At the north bay, there are presently tall wooden doors. Although these doors appear to be fairly old, based on a photo from around 1937, the original ground level bay was actually filled with storefront.

Based on the historical photo from the late 1930s, a deep belt course in concrete topped the ground floor level. The belt course consisted of a flat band divided into three thinner horizontal bands above the ground level end bays. Above these, there was a dentil band, which in turn was topped by slightly projecting fillet mold (slightly projecting band). These elements were cut away above the interior bays, to accommodate a large sign. The belt course remains the same today. A similar configuration occurs at the cornice level of the façade.


Above the ground level and belt course, as described previously, the two upper floors are divided into bays by the continuous piers. Groups of recessed window bays are set between the piers. At each upper floor, the central and end bays consist of a group of three double hung windows, while the intervening bays consist of a horizontal double row of double hung windows. Based on original drawings, the historical photo from the late 1930s and the present condition of the building, the double hung windows are original or excellent replacements in kind.


A cornice consisting of three horizontal bands, with each band projecting out slightly above the one below, is topped by a dentil band and then a projecting fillet mold. This cornice, which is set above the third level, offsets the stepped parapet above. It too is cut away above the three central bays and once accommodated a large and slightly canted sign bearing the words: “SASH & DOORS.” Another sign attached to the central portion of the parapet, just above the lower sign, advertised “ O. B. WILLIAMS CO.” A thickened band also outlines and further emphasizes the shape of the stepped parapet.

Although the signs are gone, the rest of the upper façade is very close to its historical appearance. In general, aside from these changes and the modernized storefront, the most important architectural elements of the main façade have been retained. Another feature, which makes the overall appearance differ somewhat from the original is a rather wild paint job, in black and white. It appears to represent shadows cast by imaginary fire escapes.

The north and south elevations, which were not meant to be seen from the street, have no openings or architectural ornament.


The back, west elevation, has a composition, detailing and ornament, which are very similar to the main elevation. The main differences are the new multi-pane clerestory windows at the three central bays and new metal garage doors, of varying sizes, particularly at the first, second bays and fourth bays, counting from the north. Above the ground level, windows are double-hung and appear to be original. The parapet is somewhat simpler and only features rectilinear shapes, with a central raised parapet over the three central bays.

 

Detail for 1943 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 7666207160 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: District Status: LR, INV
Cladding(s): Concrete, Metal Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Processing Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Slight
Storefront: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Hanford, C. H. Seattle and Environs. Chicago: Pioneer Historical Publication Company, 1924.
Bagley, Clarence B. History of King County, Washington. Seattle: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1929.
King County Assessor Property Characteristics Report, database at http://www5.metrokc.gov/ --parcel locator

Photo collection for 1943 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 7666207160 / Inv # 0


Photo taken Jan 08, 2010
App v2.0.1.0