This commercial building was designed by the architectural firm Collins & Delaney and built in 1947. Acme Breweries and Peerless Yeast Company originally occupied the building along with General Paint Company (Polk 1948-49, 1951, 1953). In 1957 the brewery was gone, but Peerless Yeast continued to occupy the building in the 1950s and 1960s, along with four other general commercial businesses, including Porter-Cable Machine Company (Polk 1957, 1959, 1965). Hofbrau Tavern occupied the building in 1970 (Polk 1970).
This building was constructed during the post-World War II era, which was an important period of industrial, commercial and warehouse development in the South Lake Union area. It displays characteristics of the Mid-Century Modern or simply Modern style. The Modern style grew out of construction techniques and materials technologies that developed during and immediately after World War II in response to the need to build economical and easily assembled structures. While these techniques were initially used in the construction of military and mass housing structures, they quickly spread to other building types. Characteristics of Modern commercial vernacular buildings during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s include modular building systems with cladding materials that could be pre-fabricated and assembled on-site. Common cladding materials included brick (frequently Roman brick), formed concrete, simulated stone, aluminum, Vitrolite (opaque glass), glass block, and small mosaic tile. Modern commercial storefronts often featured an “open front” design, which celebrated the display window as the most prominent storefront element in contrast to earlier storefront designs which placed more emphasis on the wall that framed the windows. Windows were typically plate glass with narrow aluminum frames. Plate glass afforded large, uninterrupted expanses of windows that could extend from floor to ceiling, ideal for displaying merchandise. Storefront bulkheads and enframements were commonly clad in brick, stone, or tile.
This building featured the following characteristics of the Modern style: an “open front” storefront design with large plate glass windows with thin aluminum sash, Roman brick cladding, and a broad flat soffit above the storefront on which prominent business signage was displayed. The building has been extensively altered: original aluminum sash storefront windows have been replaced with modern windows with pained steel sash; the bulkhead has been clad in new tile, and the brick cladding has been painted. It does not retain sufficient historic building fabric or features to convey its history or potential significance.
R.L. Polk Company, “Polk’s City of Seattle Directory,” 1948-49, 1951, 1953, 1957, 1959, 1965, 1970.
King County Property Record Card (1937-1972), Washington State Archives
Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Property Inventory Card, 2004
Jackson, Mike, FAIA. “Storefronts of Tomorrow.” Preserving the Recent Past 2. Eds. Deborah Slaton and William G. Foulks. Washington DC: Historic Preservation Education Foundation, National Park Service, Association for Preservation Technology, 200. 57-65.