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Summary for 1530 11TH AVE / Parcel ID 600350-0305 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Sunset Electric Common Name: vacant
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Pike/Pine
Built By: Year Built: 1926
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).

The Sunset Electric Company building was constructed in 1926 by the Exeter Investment Company.  The architects were Bertram Dudley Stuart (1885-1977) and Arthur Wheatley.  Stuart was born in London, and practiced in Edmonton and Vancouver before arriving in Seattle in 1918.  During his partnership with Wheatley (1925-1930) they designed several notable buildings including the Exeter House Apartments (for the same owner), the Bergonian Hotel (now the Mayflower Hotel) and the Marlborough Apartments. Stuart is probably better known for his later partnership with the Modernist architect, Robert L. Durham, from 1941 until 1954. The firm began by designing primarily war housing, and later branched into a variety of commercial work.  

The original plans entitle this a “commercial building,” but it was evidently built for the Sunset Electric Company.  Their logo in terra cotta was installed on the south façade.  Early building plans note a “radio display room” at the corner with an adjacent “radio repair room.”  The rest of the building had spaces for sales and parts, servicing and delivery vehicles.

The Sunset Electric Company
was a supplier of automobile electrical equipment as well as the Pacific Northwest wholesale distributor for Atwater-Kent radios.  The company was a regional one, with a Portland distributorship managed by Rodney Prentice. The corner space was an appliance showroom, with other sections used for offices, electrical repairs and sales/parts storage.  Sunset Electric remained here until about 1938, by which time they sold a wide variety of home appliances and radios as well as automotive electric equipment and accessories and service.   In the 1940s-50s Colyear Motor Sales, an auto parts dealer located across the street, used this building for sales and storage. In the 1950s-70s it was used by Spray Craft Auto Painting as a garage and paint shop. An upholstery shop occupied the northwest corner.  A paint spray booth was constructed toward the rear.


The brick masonry building is a showroom/garage structure, measuring 120 by 120 feet.  It is one story with a lower level garage at the rear.  The building has large expanses of windows, 13-inch brick walls, a concrete basement and rear wall and a post and beam interior.  The exterior is largely intact. However, in 1958 the front entry on 11th Avenue was converted to a garage door and a concrete ramp was added to provide access to the garage below.  Some windows have been altered and the main display windows may also have been modernized.   

 The main (west) façade has two distinct sections.  The southernmost section has a gabled parapet with a distinctive terra cotta plaque with the initials “SE” flanking a setting sun above the abbreviation “Co” and prominent terra cotta coping.  Below this is a garage opening with a newer door.   Between each bay is a brick pilaster topped with a pointed terra cotta ornament in a vaguely Gothic style.  The second-story windows appear to be original wood sash, with two pairs with a 12-light configuration and three sixteen-light sash.  A terra cotta belt course runs above the windows. The southwest corner has an original nine-light window with a three-light transom; those on the south have fixed pane lower sash.

The northern section of this façade has large metal-framed display windows with distinctive tall transoms (wood sash), each with a small operable section. Toward the northwest corner is a concrete bulkhead (partially clad with wood) with several wire glass windows at the lower level.  There is a small glass-and-wood entry door near the center of the façade, and a garage opening with a newer wood door; the surrounding windows have been altered. 

The north elevation has three storefronts with wood and glass doors.  The westernmost one has display windows with transoms similar to those at the corner.  Windows of the center storefront are smaller, and are now covered with plywood.  The eastern section has two six-light windows, one covered, near the door, with two twelve-light windows, with the lower sections covered, and three windows with eight-light transoms and 12-light lower sections, also covered with plywood.  The parapet has diamond and Moorish terra cotta plaques at each bay.

 The east elevation has two levels with a large garage door toward the center.  Most of the façade consists of a large expanse of industrial metal sash (with some missing panes) letting light into the interior.  The remaining part of the façade is bare concrete rather than the brick found on the other elevations. 


Detail for 1530 11TH AVE / Parcel ID 600350-0305 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s):
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Brick No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.

Photo collection for 1530 11TH AVE / Parcel ID 600350-0305 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jun 19, 2011
App v2.0.1.0