This building apparently
replaced a previous heavy timber, one story warehouse constructed for the
Seattle Barrel and Cooperage Company during the early 1930s. The present
building also began as a one-story building. It was initially constructed
around 1945 as an office building for the Los Angeles Seattle Motor Express
Company, which at this location until at least 1965.The initial design was by
Seattle architect W. G. Brust, who was also responsible for the later 1948
design, also for the same client. Based on drawings from July 1948, Brust added
an additional floor and the present gabled roof, set over heavy timber
trusswork. The main façade along 6th Avenue South, as well as the
overall shape of the south elevation, are very close to what is presented in
the 1948 original drawings. On the other hand, there appear to be additional
bays both to the north and south of the main entrance. Also, original window
openings and multi-pane windows on the south elevation, as shown on W. G.
Brust’s 1948 drawings, are gone, except for one, which is centrally located on
the elevation. It is not clear when the additional bays were added to the main
façade. Since the actual design of the present windows is consistent with
architect W. G. Brust’s design of 1948, it seems possible that he may have been
responsible for yet a third modification of the initial design. The
modification may have also occurred in the field during construction, although
there do not seem to be any record drawings.
Based on Polk’s Seattle
Directories, the building was vacant in 1970. Toward the end of 1970, Marshall
Barr and Pacquer, Consulting Engineers, made interior structural modifications
to the building for the Alaskan Copper Works. In particular, overhead trusses
were modified and interior columns removed, probably to allow for more
uninterrupted spans within the building.
The Alaskan Copper Works
still owns and uses the building. The distribution company for the Alaskan
Copper Works is the Alaska Copper and Brass Company. The two companies, as
described on the Alaska Copper Works website, continue to operate as a
“combined metal service center, manufacturer and fabricator of
corrosion-resistant alloy products.” Within the Industrial District, the two
companies are a major landowner and, as of 2003, owned 19 acres. Morris Rosen
founded the Alaskan Copper Works along Alaskan Way during the early Twentieth
Century. The company has been run by at least three generations of the Rosen
family and retains many experienced workers who have been with the company for
over thirty years.
W. G. Brust, a graduate
of the University of Pennsylvania, opened his architectural practice in Seattle
in 1927. Prior to that time, he worked during the 1910s in the office of
architect E. F. Champney. Between 1920 and 1927, he was in partnership with
James Stephen and his son, Frederick Bennett Stephen, another University of
Pennsylvania graduate, in the firm of Stephen, Stephen and Brust. That firm was
particularly well known for its school designs. Brust was mainly known as a
church designer during the 1930s and 1940s. He designed the Phinney Ridge
Lutheran Church (1929), Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (1946-47) and Hope
Lutheran Church (1948). He also designed industrial related buildings. In
addition to 3200 6th Avenue South, Brust was the architect for two
neighboring buildings in the Cascade neighborhood for contractor O. E.
Turnquist. 434 Yale Ave North, which shows an Art Moderne influence, was
designed during the late 1940s, while its neighbor, more typically Modernist,
was completed during the late 1950s. W. G. Brust died in Seattle in 1969.
Richard Seven, “How Goes SODO?,” Seattle
Times, Pacific Northwest Magazine, October 19, 2003, database at
accessed March 2010.
Alaskan Copper website, http://www.alaskancopper.com/