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Summary for 5050 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 3573700410 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: International Harvester Co./ Western Cartage Common Name: Iridio
Style: Art Deco - PWA Moderne, Modern - Postmodern Neighborhood: Duwamish
Built By: Year Built: 1938
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).

Plat: Industrial Add Replat, Block: G, Lots: 4-9
Engineer: Office of the Engineer, Oregon and Washington Railroad, Portland, OR

Although clearly altered and modernized, the building has retained enough of its original fabric to be considered significant. It also has a real presence along First Avenue South. It was initially designed in 1938 as a warehouse for the “storage of auto trucks and trailers” for the Oregon and Washington Railroad. The “Office of the Resident Engineer, Portland, Oregon” of the Oregon and Washington Railroad was responsible for the drawings. Interior changes, including the addition of fluorescent lighting fixtures, occurred in 1942, when the building was described as an “Auto Repair Building” for International Harvester Company.

Andersen Bjornstad and Kane designed structural upgrades to the building for Ducommun Metal and Supply Company in 1959. Directory listings show that International Harvester was still associated with the building at least until 1965, but that Weyerhauser had taken over by 1970. By 1974, Western Cartage occupied the building and remained until at least 1990, when it shared the building with the American Manufacturing Company, which specialized in rope.

In 1981, mechanical changes for Western Cartage were made, with equipment added over the exterior curved roofs. Finally, the architecture firm of Collins Woerman did a renovation for what became “5050 Iridio Building,” beginning in 2002. The new fenestration and other modernizing details date from this last renovation.

This is one of several buildings in the immediate vicinity designed and built by the Oregon and Washington Railroad. Both 5000 and 4786 1st Avenue South were also built by the Oregon and Washington Railroad.

5050 1st Avenue South is located on the northeast corner of First Avenue South and Dawson Street. It has somewhat similar elevations along both First Avenue South and Second Avenue South, as well as a south elevation along Dawson St and a similar north elevation. Rectangular in plan, it is one story in height and has exterior brick walls.

The low brick facades along First Avenue South and Second Avenue South both present parapets, which step down at their edges. This feature, which is original, makes the elevations stand out. Based on original drawings the top of the parapet, including the stepped portion, was topped by concrete coping. The latest renovation noticeably adds sheet metal over the coping. Behind the parapet, the roof is supported by three contiguous series of interior wooden bow trusses. The central curved roof was also designed with a skylight, which projects out over it, but behind the façade parapet.

Although, in general, the basic openings of the two main facades have been mostly retained, windows are clearly new. Other modifications have also been made. The main façade is subdivided into three larger bays, corresponding to the three series of trusses behind the parapet. Based on original drawings, the first large bay included three long rectangular openings, filled with multi-pane sash. This was followed by two more sets of similar openings. In the latest renovation, the central row of windows was replaced by a trabeated opening, which includes a new glazed double door with sidelights and transoms. A new overhead canopy tops this. New glazing, consisting of two vertical rows, each with three window panes, separated by relatively thick muntins, replaced standard multi-pane sash.

In the second and central large bay, the central opening, possibly a service door, is now a main entry. On the other hand, the flanking window openings, in rows of three, are original, even if windows are new. In the large bay to the south, two small window openings, which are lower than most of the other window openings are original. A new doorway and canopy replaced the central service door and the last row of three openings are original. Again, all the glazing is new.

Detail for 5050 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 3573700410 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: LR, INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Metal Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition, Metal
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Drawings, Microfiche Files, Department of Planning and Development.
King County Assessor Property Characteristics Report, database at --parcel locator

Photo collection for 5050 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 3573700410 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Feb 28, 2010
App v2.0.1.0