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Summary for 1807 7 AVE / Parcel ID 0659000365 / Inv #

Historic Name: Textile Tower Common Name: Tower Building
Style: Art Deco Neighborhood: Denny Triangle
Built By: Year Built: 1930
 
Significance
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
Originally known as the Textile Building, this building was designed by architect Earl W. Morrison in 1930 and completed in 1931. The firm of W. H. Witt Company was the structural engineer. The storefronts, in addition to second floor windows along 7th Avenue have since been modernized, probably somewhat recently: for instance, original drawings show that there were three openings – rectangles with chamfered corners at the top -at the ground level. Now there is one central, rectangular opening, with plain rectilinear storefronts to each side. Above the two story building base, exterior cladding and fenestration seem unchanged. Particularly, at the tower level, the building is a classic Art Deco skyscraper, with a high level of craftsmanship in design and ornamentation. In the 1940s, the interiors of floors 3 through 7 were remodeled for the U. S. Veterans Administration to include a wide variety of functions, including medical offices and exam rooms and a film library. Earl Morrison made a minor exterior change at the ground level in 1946: at the south side corner of the Olive Way elevation, he created a new interior balcony, as well as new storefront and signage for Kennel & Ellis, a pharmacy. The storefront and business are still part of the building. In 1953, architect James Chiarrelli, a well-known Seattle Modernist, did a major interior design for a restaurant in the space off the corner of 7th Avenue and Olive Street. The design of the main restaurant space included non-rectilinear spaces, created in part by interlinked and juxtaposed v-shaped banquettes. Despite the drama of the interior design, the exterior of the building does not appear to have been altered, as a result of this work. By 1978 and at least until 1988, the building, like several of the buildings in the neighborhood was owned by the Vance Corporation. The architect, Earl Morrison (Earl is spelled without an E on these drawings, although other historians add an E to the first name) is best known for this building and for the Olive Tower (1928-1929) on Boren St. Earl Morrison came to Seattle around 1925 and had previously practiced architecture in Spokane from 1919 to 1926. While the 1920s and 1930s buildings show that he had mastered Art Deco detailing, a building at 3700 Ferdinand Street shows that he later practiced as a Modernist. That building, designed and built in the 1950s, proves that Morrison was still practicing architecture in the 1950s. He died in Seattle in 1955.
 
Appearance
Located on the southwest corner of Olive Way and 7th Avenue, this building is an excellent example of an Art Deco office tower. It has a two story base, trapezoidal in plan, topped by a narrower fourteen story tower, rectilinear in plan. The longer base of the trapezoid corresponds to the main façade and longest elevation along 7th Avenue. The building’s concrete structure, which includes a basement and sub-basement, is clad in concrete, a dark buff brick veneer, as well as cast stone ornament, on its major street facing elevations. According to original drawings, there are four small penthouse structures, set back from the parapet. The building’s main façade is along 7th Avenue, with a secondary, major elevation along Olive Way. A third elevation faces west toward Stewart St, over a one story garage addition and an open lot. One bay of this elevation is clad in brick, with the same formal cladding as the main façade, while the rest of the elevation is concrete. The west elevation was not meant to be seen from the street. The back elevation along the alley, facing the back of 600 Olive Way, is in concrete, and not accessible to the public. The wider two-story base of the building is clad in concrete, with a variety of ornamental textures. Along the main facade, the central portion of the base consists of five bays, topped by the tower element above. To each side of the five bays, is a two story bay, with a common rusticated pattern in concrete and two single openings per floor. At the storefront level along 7th Avenue, the five bays have wide rectilinear openings and new storefront glazing. The second level has wide rectangular window openings, emphasized overhead by an ornamental band with a scalloped profile. Above the base, the three central bays are emphasized by continuous engaged piers and ornamental spandrels with Art Deco ornamentation. Each bay is further subdivided into three by continuous pilasters. The ornamentation, in cast stone, especially spirited at the third and fourth levels, includes stylized floral motifs and chevron patterns in the spandrels. At the level of the fourth floor spandrels, the piers also have floral and geometric decoration. For the fifth to tenth level, spandrels tend to be clad in brick. Above the tenth floor, spandrels are decorated with several varieties of Deco ornament, which include gold chevron patterns on a blue background over the twelfth and thirteenth floors, and more delicate Deco ornamentation at the parapet level. In general, the spandrels appear as horizontal ribbons weaving across the tower elevation, while piers and pilasters are further emphasized by continuous and repeated vertical reveals. Still along 7th Avenue, to each side of the three major vertical tower bays, are simpler thirteen story, brick-clad bays, each with two single window openings per floor. The top of this portion of the façade includes Deco ornament at its parapet level, which is a story lower than the three central tower bays. There is a continuous horizontal, decorative band across the side bays, just above the eleventh floor and ornamented spandrels with thick floral/ geometric motifs above the twelfth floor. Along Olive Street, bays and ornamentation more resemble the side bays of the main façade. This is also true of the single formal bay of the unclad elevation facing toward Stewart Street. While storefronts have been changed since 1930 at the tower level, the standard windows, casement windows with both a transom light and vertical pane below, are original or have been replaced in kind.

Detail for 1807 7 AVE / Parcel ID 0659000365 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Stone - Ashlar/cut, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Professional Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: seventeen
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry, Politics/Government/Law
Integrity
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Mimi Sheridan, “Jones Dairy/ Union Place, 2018-2022 East Union St,” Historic Property Inventory Report, City of Seattle Neighborhood Survey and Inventory Database, June 19, 2002.
Sarah Sodt, “Soreano’s Plumbing, 3700 S Ferdinand St,” Historic Property Inventory Report, City of Seattle Neighborhood Survey and Inventory Database, February 2, 2004.

Photo collection for 1807 7 AVE / Parcel ID 0659000365 / Inv #


Photo taken Feb 14, 2006

Photo taken Feb 24, 2006

Photo taken Feb 25, 2006
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