[NOTE: Same tax parcel # as 500 Westlake Ave. N]
See 333 Westlake Ave N. [Pande Cameron Building – Durant-Star Co./Dunn Motors Showroom] for Westlake Avenue N. – Historic Context Statement.
A blacksmith shop was originally located on this site. The subject building was originally designed for and used as a Rhodes Bros. Co. warehouse, constructed in 1919. It was designed by Seattle architect Victor W. Voorhees and identified as project #2757 [per DPD Microfilm Library records]. Permit records and Seattle Times (4-27-19, pg.100) coverage indicate that it was constructed for $50,000 with equipment including a 10-ton electric freight elevator. It was described as a three story warehouse measuring 50ft x 100ft with a basement level and a concrete, mill construction and heavy timber trestle structural system.
Rhodes Bros. Co. was a Tacoma-based department store company. It was initially established in 1892 as a coffee shop in downtown Tacoma by Albert, William, Henry and Charles Rhodes. The store greatly expanded through the years and included a tea room, a branch library and a separate budget store. At one time there were signs on highways in Washington that said, "All roads lead to Rhodes," giving the number of miles to the Rhodes store in Tacoma. Albert Rhodes left Rhodes Brothers in 1907 and moved to Seattle, where he established a separate Seattle-based enterprise known as the Rhodes Department Store. By 1926 it anchored the corner of Second Avenue and Union Streets in the downtown retail core. During the 1910s the Rhodes Bros. Co. established a “ten-cent” budget store located at 1311-1315 2nd Ave. near other similar businesses (F.W. Woolworth Co. and the S.H. Kress & Co.).
The Rhodes Bros. Co. warehouse was remodeled (designed by Naramore, Bain, Brady & Johanson) in 1945 in order to serve as the initial location of showrooms, offices and warehouse for Radio, Television and Appliance Co. wholesale distributors. A major addition to this business enterprise was made in 1947 – see 500 Westlake Ave. – and an expanded showroom and warehouse complex was created, which was designed by Bain, Overturf, Turner & Associates.
Philco was founded in 1892 as Helios Electric Company. From its inception until 1904, the company manufactured carbon-arc lamps. As this line of business slowly foundered over the last decade of the 19th century, the firm experienced increasingly difficult times. As the Philadelphia Storage Battery Company, in 1906 it began making batteries for electric vehicles. They later supplied home charging batteries to the infant radio industry. The Philco brand name appeared in 1919. From 1920 to 1927, all radios were powered by storage batteries which were fairly expensive and often messy in the home. In the early 1920s, Philco made storage batteries, "socket power" battery eliminator units, and battery chargers. With the invention of the rectifier tube, this made it practical to power radios by electrical outlets. In 1928, Philco decided to get into the booming radio business. They followed other radio makers such as Atwater-Kent, Zenith, RCA into the battery-powered radio business. By 1930, they were selling more radios than any other maker, a position they held for more than 20 years.
Philco began marketing car radios in 1930 and later expanded into other areas including air conditioners (1938), refrigerators (1939), home freezers (1946), consumer televisions (1947), electric ranges (1949), home laundry washers and dryers (1954), and home entertainment products. Their first consumer television set, the 1948 table Model 48-1000, had a 10 inch screen and sold for $395. By 1954, Philco had led the radio industry in volume sales for 24 straight years, selling over 30 million radios.
In 1943, established Seattle architects Floyd Naramore, William Bain Sr. (1896-1985), Clifton Brady and Perry Johanson formed a partnership, Naramore, Bain Brady and Johanson, known informally as "The Combine" (predecessor to today's NBBJ) that continued to operate after the end of WWII. Bain’s work at "The Combine" included client contact and project management for such projects as the Federal Reserve Branch Bank (1947-50), Boeing Pre-Flight Facilities in Renton and Moses Lake (1956-58), the Scottish Rite Temple (1958-62), and the First Presbyterian Church, Seattle (1965-70). In 1946, Bain formed a partnership with Harrison Overturf and Edwin Turner, which evolved to become Bain, Overturf & Turner and later Bain & Overturf - after Turner withdrew in 1950. This secondary partnership continued until 1970 and enabled Bain to maintain a residential practice separate from the Naramore, Bain, Brady & Johanson partnership.
Edwin Thurlow Turner (June 13, 1905-October 13, 1979) was born and raised in Great Bend, Kansas and earned a B.Arch. at the University of Washington in 1929. He was employed by Harry T. Whittaker, Victoria, B.C., 1929-32; by George Wellington Stoddard, Seattle, 1934-35; by William J. Bain, Sr., Seattle, 1935-42 prior to becoming a partner in Bain, Overturf, Turner & Associates, 1946-50. He is known to have designed Magnolia Presbyterian Church, Seattle (1948), Kappa Alpha Theta House, Seattle (1949), Irving S. Smith residence, Seattle (1950) during that partnership and appears to have played an important role in the Philco Building project. Turner was later employed as an architect for the General Services Administration, Seattle, 1960-70.