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Summary for 4503 17TH AVE / Parcel ID 8823902415 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity Common Name: Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity
Style: Other Neighborhood: University
Built By: Year Built: 1929
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).
Phi Gamma Delta is the second oldest fraternity at the University of Washington (after Sigma Nu), founded in 1900. Phi Gamma Delta had an earlier fraternity house built on this location in 1909, which was demolished for the current building. The building resembles a multi-gabled English manor and reflects the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture employed at the University of Washington campus in the 1920s. According to Norman Johnston, it represents a versatile approach to the Collegiate Gothic idiom. The Phi Gamma Delta house occupies a prominent location at the corner of NE 45th Street and 17th Avenue NE and provides a fitting link between Greek Row and the main entrance to the University of Washington. This is one of the few major fraternities and sororities not designed by local architects. Walter Mellor of Mellor & Meigs from Philadelphia was the architect, and he worked with Seattle architect J. Lister Holmes on the project. J. Lister Holmes (1891-1986) executed a variety of houses in a range of architectural idioms, including English Tudor, Spanish Colonial, Norman Provincial and 18th century French. The Phi Gamma Delta house is one of the best Greek Row buildings at the University of Washington and is notable for its architectural style and prominence. The north side addition is newer but compatible with the original structure. See continuation sheet for additional reference.

Based on field work conducted in October 2014, this historic property retains its relationship to the streetscape, historic building form and a sufficient amount of exterior historic building fabric (design features, cladding and/or window sash/openings) to contribute to the distinct character of the University Park neighborhood. 

The building has been described as a typical multi-gabled English manor. It has a basically L- shaped plan and is clad in common bond brick. Cast stone ornament is found at the main entrance and the two-story-high leaded glass window of the main hall. The building also has a similar impressive two-story leaded glass multipaned window on the south side, facing NE 45th Street. The two and a half story leaded windows above the main entrance also contribute to the verticality of the building. The three-story north side addition, built in 1967 and designed by Klontz & Wrede, replaced a much smaller two-story wing that was part of the original structure. This addition is compatible with the original building. Other minor changes include a new exit stairway from the third floor built in 1963 and first floor interior alterations made in 1989. The windows are leaded glass casement windows. The building is well sited with its large lot and extensive yard and takes advantage of its prominent location across from the main entrance to the University of Washington campus. The building's most outstanding features are its multigabled roofs, asymmetrical L-shaped plan and distinctive multistory leaded glass windows. The building has two exterior chimneys on the east and west elevations and two interior chimneys.

This property exhibits no substantive changes to the exterior appearance since it was identified in the 2002 HRI project. 

Detail for 4503 17TH AVE / Parcel ID 8823902415 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Wood - Shingle
Building Type: Domestic - Institutional Housing Plan: L-Shape
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Social Movements & Organizations
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Johnston, Norman, “Row Show,” Columns, September 2001 (pp. 30-36).
City of Seattle. Seattle Inventory Field Form. 1979.
Kreisman, Lawrence. "Frat Row, Students find a home away from home on a gracious boulevard." Seattle Times, February 12, 1989.

Photo collection for 4503 17TH AVE / Parcel ID 8823902415 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jan 25, 2002

Photo taken Jan 25, 2002

Photo taken Oct 01, 2014

Photo taken Oct 01, 2014
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