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Summary for 203 DEXTER AVE / Parcel ID 199120-0970 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Pitney-Bowes Business Machines Common Name: Winston Wachter Fine Art
Style: Modern Neighborhood: South Lake Union
Built By: Year Built: 1952

This building was constructed in 1952 for Pitney-Bowes Inc.,business machines (Polk 1953) and accommodated sales and service areas and office space. It later housed Associates Discount Corporate Financial Management and Associates Loan Company (Polk 1955, 1965).  It currently houses an art gallery called Winston Wachter Fine Art. 

The building architect was Henry W. Bittman (1882-1953), who is known to have designed over 250 new and/or remodeled building projects in Seattle, Washington State and Alaska. Bittman studied engineering at Cooper Union and then worked briefly in Chicago as a bridge engineer.  He came to Seattle In 1906 and practiced briefly with architect William Kingsley.  By 1908 he had established an independent structural engineering practice where he specializing in the design of structural steel skeletons constructed in Seattle. He is known to have served from 1914 until 1919 as representative of Puget Sound and Alaska Powder Company, an explosives supplier. In 1923, Henry Bittman became a licensed architect in Washington State and went on to become a successful and highly respected commercial architect. 

This building displays characteristics of the Modern style, which 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 store front 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. 

The building appears to be quite intact, although the transoms on the aluminum sash windows have been altered.  Although it was designed by a notable architect and built during a period of important industrial, commercial and warehouse construction in the South Lake Union area, it lacks noteworthy architectural details and historical associations. 

Bibliographical References:

Polk, R.L.

1953 City Directory of Seattle. R. L. Polk &Co., Seattle

1955 City Directory of Seattle. R. L. Polk &Co., Seattle

1965 City Directory of Seattle. R. L. Polk &Co., Seattle

Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historic Guide to the Architects.Seattle: University of Washington Press. 1994, 1998, 2014.

Jackson, Mike, FAIA. “Storefronts of Tomorrow.” Preserving theRecent Past 2. Eds. Deborah Slaton and William G. Foulks. Washington DC:Historic Preservation Education Foundation, National Park Service, Associationfor Preservation Technology, 200. 57-65.  

Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Property Inventory Card, 2011

King County Property Record Card (1937-1972), Washington State Archives

City of Seattle, Department of Planning and Development, Microfilm Records.


This rectangular one story concrete building sits on a corner lot. It has a flat roof with parapets, Roman brick cladding on the front facade that wraps the corner by one window bay. To the south of the entry are full height, plate glass display windows with a low bulkhead; to the north of the entry is a group of four aluminum frame windows with transoms. The entry is recessed at an angle and features a wood door with an aluminum frame sidelight. A shallow, painted corrugated metal canopy runs the length of the front facade.  A large plate glass window with aluminum sash and frames at the corner of the south facade matches the storefront windows and appears to be original.  Other windows on this facade appear to be newer.  

Detail for 203 DEXTER AVE / Parcel ID 199120-0970 / Inv # 0

Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick - Roman, Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Interior: Unknown
Storefront: Slight
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for 203 DEXTER AVE / Parcel ID 199120-0970 / Inv # 0

Photo taken May 01, 2014

Photo taken May 01, 2014
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