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Summary for 800 S MAYNARD ST S / Parcel ID 8592900345 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Crescent Manufacturing Co./Knickerbocker Company Common Name: RDA Building
Style: Commercial, Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Duwamish
Built By: Year Built: 1926
 
Significance

Plat: Terry's 5th Addition, Block 8, Lot: 7

Alternate Address: 657 Dearborn St, (657 S. Dearborn St)

Based on original construction drawings, Stuart and Wheatley, Architects and Engineers, designed this building, whose address at the time was 657 Dearborn St, as a warehouse for the Knickerbocker Company in 1926. The building has retained many significant architectural features, but the change in fenestration and to the main entry has altered its exterior appearance to some degree.

The firm of Stuart and Wheatley is primarily known for elegant apartment and hotel buildings in Seattle. This is an interesting example of how the firm adapted its usual stylistic tendencies to the design of a more utilitarian building. Based on the original drawings, the interior of the four floors was mainly left open, with rows of columns visible.

By 1948, the Crescent Manufacturing Company, (which had headquarters in what became the Pioneer Square Historic District to at least the 1910s), occupied the building. During the late 1940s, the Crescent Manufacturing Company apparently added a cafeteria area, which involved additional interior construction in steel, additional partitions for offices, as well as a sugar tank. The plant was highly productive with a “capacity for roasting ten tons of coffee, per day, packing 20,000 bottles Mapleine per day, 8000 cans of spices per day, and so on.” By the early 1980s, Crescent Foods still occupied the building.

The Crescent Manufacturing Company had actually been in existence in Seattle since 1883. Early on, it was known as a purveyor of spices and seasonings, as well as vanilla extract. During the Klondike Gold Rush, the company sold a popular spice and preservation packet. By 1905, it also sold Mapleine, an imitation maple flavoring. By the 1930s, Mapleine had become the company’s most well-known and popular product. Don Weaver played an important role in the company’s development, especially from the late 1940s to the mid-1980s. Under his leadership, the company continued to prosper and change. In 1957, the Crescent Manufacturing Company bought Gold Shield Coffee. It also began to package and sell nuts, a very successful enterprise. In 1989, McCormick & Company, a well-known spice manufacturing company, based in Baltimore, bought Crescent Foods. Crescent Foods’ various Seattle facilities have since been consolidated. As of 2004, their main headquarters were located in Kent, Washington.

Following Crescent Foods departure from the building, there have been a variety of tenants in the building, including the Seattle Parks Department. The building is now known as the RDA Building.

The partnership of Stuart and Wheatley was formed in 1925, not long before this building was designed. The firm lasted until 1930.  Bertram Dudley Stuart was born in London in 1885. He apparently practiced architecture in Canada, in Edmonton, Alberta and in Vancouver, B. C., before coming to Seattle in 1918. The firm’s most well-known work includes the Exeter and the Marlborough Apartments on First Hill; the Biltmore Apartments and its annex and the Roundcliffe Apartments on Capitol Hill; and the Bergonian Hotel, now the Mayflower Park Hotel in downtown Seattle.

Additional Sources

James R.Warren, “Crescent Manufacturing Company,” HistoryLink.org Essay 2006, database at <www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=2006>, January 1, 2000, revised September 13, 2004, accessed April 15, 2010.

“Guide to the B. Dudley Stuart Architectural Photograph Collection

ca. 1920s-1940s,” database at : <www.lib.washington.edu/Specialcoll/findaids/docs/photosgraphics/StuartPHColl585.xml>, accessed April 15, 2010.

"Consolidated South District Commercial Club, Seattle's South District: A Pictorial Study,” Seattle, 1931


 
Appearance

 

800 Maynard Street is a four-story building with a basement level. It is located on the southeast corner of Dearborn Avenue and Maynard St. Its plan is square, 120 feet by 120 feet. The building has a flat roof and parapet. Based on historical drawings, there was at least one skylight on the roof, in addition to an elevator penthouse. The building’s original structure is concrete, with a regular interior grid of concrete columns, which were octagonal in plan and had with splayed capitals. The grid establishes a six-bay division on the exterior elevations. The main elevations are along Dearborn and Maynard Streets.

Shallow concrete pilasters visually emphasize the bay divisions, particularly at the interior bays of two main elevations. The pilasters each end in a simple angled cap, which lines up with the top of the fourth floor windows. The bay divisions are also emphasized at the parapet level: the parapet rises in an angled shape between bays. The parapet also steps even higher at the end bays of both of the main elevations. At each of the end bays, four indented rectangles are set above the top windows, just below the line of a straight portion of the parapet. To each side, taller engaged piers also end in an angled shape.

With a few exceptions, above the ground level, at each floor, there is usually one large rectangular opening per bay. These openings were formerly filled with multi-pane industrial sash. The steel sash, which added another layer of visual interest, has been replaced and, in most cases, by a rows of long vertical panes, set above smaller rectangular panes.  In addition, with the exception of doorways, the ground level openings were plate glass, topped by hinged transoms. These have also been replaced by the same type of glazing, as described for the upper floors, although the openings themselves have usually not been altered. These elements and associated changes are common to both main elevations. 

Based on original drawings, the main entrance along Dearborn St was located at the third bay from Maynard St.  The drawings show plate glass set to each side of a central double door, which was framed by two vertical elements, topped by finials. A hinged transom topped the double door. Above this, there was also another set of hinged transoms, which were set between the finials and topped most of the entire bay. A simple, single doorway replaced the former entrance. A new entry is now located at the next bay, as well as a new open metal canopy. Two bays, each with four rows of lower vertical windows, follow the new doorway. A new, open metal canopy also tops this last set of windows. Aside from the loss of the multi-pane sash, this is the most dramatic change to the building.

 

Detail for 800 S MAYNARD ST S / Parcel ID 8592900345 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: LR, INV
Cladding(s): Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Processing Plan: Square
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Drawings, Microfiche Files, Department of Planning and Development.

Photo collection for 800 S MAYNARD ST S / Parcel ID 8592900345 / Inv # 0


Photo taken Jan 22, 2010
App v2.0.1.0