Seattle.gov Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

This application will be offline for Maintenance Saturday Feb 4th from 6am to noon

New Search

Summary for 2000 4th AVE / Parcel ID 1604500000 / Inv #

Historic Name: Claremont Apartment Hotel Common Name: Hotel Andre
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1925
 
Significance
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This property is directly associated with the early twentieth century developmental era (1920-1930) when a significant number of commercial buildings were constructed and the modern downtown commercial district was fully established. In 1923, Seattle adopted its first ordinance that regulated specific geographic areas for specified uses; it allowed the most densely concentrated commercial development to occur in the downtown core. The economic prosperity of the 1920s stimulated the development of numerous major highrise commercial buildings, as well as smaller-scale bank and commercial buildings, major hotels and apartment hotels, club buildings and entertainment facilities, which were typically designed by leading Seattle architects. During this era, the original residential district was entirely absorbed by commercial and other real estate development. By 1930, virtually all of the old residential properties - as well as many of the immediate post-fire era commercial buildings outside of Pioneer Square - had been demolished or removed. The concept of the modern hotel that would include private rooms, toilet and bathing facilities, public spaces and related guest services, originated in the early nineteenth century. By 1853, the settlement community of Seattle included its first hotel, the Felker House. By the later part of the nineteenth century, Seattle - like cities throughout the United States - included a significant number of hotels that served a wide variety of business travelers, tourists and both permanent and semi-permanent residents. By the late 1880s several elegant hotels as well as workingmen’s hotels were clustered along the west side of First Avenue between Cherry and Columbia – in proximity to the original railway passenger depot. Urban hotels, lodging and apartment buildings all closely resembled commercial office buildings in the 1880s and 1890s; it was not until the 1920s that hotel design became distinctly different in exterior appearance. Early hotel development was clearly stimulated by improvements in railroad service that brought immigrants and drew tourists and entrepreneurs. Prior to the fire of 1889, the Occidental – Seattle Hotel (1864, 1887 & 1889, destroyed), was the city’s premier tourist-oriented hotel, although there were numerous other hotels located within the commercial district. At least a dozen hotels were destroyed in the great fire of 1889; however, within four years some 63 hotels were in operation. After the fire, both the Rainier Hotel (1889, destroyed) between Columbia and Marion Streets above Fifth Avenue and the Rainier-Grand Hotel (c.1889, destroyed) at First Avenue and Marion Street functioned as the major tourist hotels. The Rainier had been intended initially to serve as a resort hotel, as was The Denny Hotel (1890-1892, destroyed). Both were large wood-frame buildings located above the commercial and residential districts with panoramic views out to the harbor. Other major post-fire tourist-oriented hotels included the Butler Hotel (1893, partly destroyed) and the Lincoln Hotel (1900, destroyed by fire in 1920) at Fourth Avenue and Madison Street. The Lincoln was promoted as an elegant residential hotel with family-style living quarters. By the turn of the century, tourist and residential hotels lined the west side of First Avenue to Pike Street. Based on the number of hotels that were operating in Seattle by 1900, it is certain that they mostly catered to long-term residents rather than temporary visitors. Many buildings that were identified as hotels actually functioned as lodging houses or apartment hotels. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, hotel living was particularly common especially in the developing cities of the American West. Hotels varied significantly in size and accommodations provided and served every economic level from those of wealth to recent immigrants and transient salesmen and laborers. Given the tremendous population growth in Seattle after 1902, hotels and lodging houses played an important role in absorbing a new and largely transient populous. While large resort or tourist-oriented hotels like the Rainier-Grande Hotel and the Denny Hotel are noteworthy, the great majority of hotel buildings built after 1900 and prior to the 1920s were much more modest operations. A particularly significance boom in hotel development occurred between 1906 and 1910 in conjunction with local economic opportunities and population growth as well as the opening of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific (AYP) Exposition of 1909 that drew some 3.7 million visitors. By 1910, Polk’s Directory included over 475 hotel listings. During the 1920s, a second boom in major hotel development occurred at which time several luxury hotels and large apartment hotels were built in the downtown commercial district. They contrasted with earlier hotels that were rarely taller than six-stories; like their neighboring office buildings, these new hotels were significantly larger and taller multi-story buildings that accommodated hundreds of guest rooms. Several were designed to include kitchen facilities and promoted for both hotel and apartment hotel purposes, including: the Spring Apartment Hotel (Kennedy, Vintage Park, 1922); Claremont Apartment Hotel (Hotel Andre, 1925); and Camlin Apartment Hotel (1926). The construction of the highly luxurious Olympic Hotel at a pivotal central location in the Metropolitan Tract in 1923 appears to have spurred other major hotel construction nearby, including: the Spring Apartment Hotel (Kennedy, Vintage Park, 1922); Continental Hotel (Hotel Seattle, 1926) and the Hungerford Hotel (Pacific Plaza, 1928). Simultaneously, numerous hotels were developed nearer the new retail core at the north end of the commercial district, including: the Vance Hotel (1926); the Benjamin Franklin Hotel (1928, destroyed) and the Bergonian Hotel (Mayflower Park Hotel, 1927). The design for most – but not all – of these hotels included large lobbies, restaurants, meeting rooms, and storefront level retail spaces. They were typically executed in a modest neoclassical mode with brick cladding and distinctive terra cotta ornament at the base and building cap. The 17-story Roosevelt Hotel, designed in the distinctive Art Deco style was completed in 1930. It was the last major downtown hotel constructed during this era and the tallest to be built until the late 1960s. In 1969, the 13-story Benjamin-Franklin Hotel was interconnected to a new 40-story tower wing and renamed the Washington Plaza Hotel. In 1980, the Benjamin Franklin Hotel was demolished in order to construct a second (44-story) tower wing, now known as the Westin Hotel. Constructed in 1925, the Claremont Apartment Hotel was the second major apartment-hotel to be constructed downtown during this era, after the Spring Apartment Hotel was built in 1922. It was designed and constructed for the Olympus Holding Corporation, a financial entity associated with Stephen Berg, the building contractor and real estate developer. While the building permit issued on April 17, 1925 described the building as an “apartment house” the architectural drawings prepared by Stuart and Wheatley note that it is an “apartment-hotel.” The permit indicated that the construction cost for the 283 room, 10-story, building was anticipated to be $700,000. It was one the first major commercial construction projects of this scale to occur in the Denny Regrade area since the construction of the New Washington Hotel (Josephinum, 1906) and the Moore Theater and Hotel (1907). A Seattle Times news story from August 4, 1929 described the Claremont and its unique combination of hotel and apartment accommodations as “a modern ten-story structure, combination of hotel and apartments…each apartment is equipped with a bath, electric range, and electric refrigerator, while the management provides convenient maid service” and noted that it was just a block north of the new Bon Marche store. Historically, “family-style” hotels were designed to include suites of rooms that would be used by individuals who needed especially comfortable long-term accommodations for their relocated families or those who traveled regularly but maintained a principal residence elsewhere. Apartment hotels differed from apartment living in that regular household help and meals were available as part of the hotel services and the guest rooms included a small kitchen and dining area for short-term guests or long-term residents. Mr. Berg was a successful local builder and real estate developer who developed, owned and operated several hotels including the Bergonian Hotel (Mayflower Park Hotel, 1928) and the Continental Hotel (Hotel Seattle, 1927) until 1933. By 1937, the building was owned by the Claremont Apartment Hotel Company and it appears to have changed ownership multiple times between 1945 and 1963. The building was repaired in 1973, after a fire and portions of the interior were renovated in 1996-97. The lobby and entryway was recently remodeled and modernized. Stephen Berg was born in Norway where he was trained in the carpenter’s trade from his father. He immigrated to the United States in 1905 where he settled in Boston for a short while before migrating to Seattle. In 1909, after having worked for others, he established his own contracting business. He received his naturalization papers in 1913. By 1916, berg was credited with having built and sold some 125 buildings – primarily family homes. By then he was a member of the Seattle Real Estate Association and held numerous improved and unimproved pieces of real estate. By 1927, Berg is reported to have developed seven large buildings downtown and was referred to in the local press as a “pioneer uptown hotel builder” possibly in reference to the subject building, the Claremont Apartment Hotel (1925) and the Continental Hotel (1926). Berg continued to be listed as a contractor in city directories until 1934, after which he is no longer listed. Bertram Dudley Stuart (1885-1977) practiced in Seattle after 1918 and in partnership with Arthur Wheatley from 1923-1930. Mr. Stuart and the firm are credited with the design of numerous apartment houses and hotels, including; Exeter Apartments House (1927); Marlborough Apartments (1926-27); and the Bergonian Hotel (1928) and the Continental Hotel (1926), also for Mr. Berg. Stuart and Wheatley are also known to have designed the Biltmore Apartments for Stephen Berg. Stuart was in partnership with Robert Durham for 1941-77. He founded the Craftsmen Guild of Washington in 1939 and served as secretary-treasurer until 1956. Despite some storefront level alterations this is a well- preserved example of an important downtown property type, apartment hotel. It is a noteworthy example of hotel design during this era and was designed by the notable architectural partnership, Stuart and Wheatley for an influential hotel developer of the era.
 
Appearance
Prominently located at the NE corner of Fourth Avenue and Virginia Street, this ten-story, high-rise hotel building was originally designed and constructed as an apartment-hotel with 153 apartment and hotel rooms. It continues to be used for upper floor hotel and storefront retail purposes. It measures 119’ x 108’ with major facades oriented to both adjacent streetfronts. It exhibits a three-part vertical block façade composition, distinctive terra cotta materials and details, and understated classically-derived architectural elements. It is similar in design character to the Bergonian Hotel (Mayflower Park Hotel) at 405 Olive Way. The reinforced concrete structure includes a concrete foundation and basement and is clad with variegated yellow and buff color brick and buff color terra cotta ornament finished to appear as cut stone. Buff-grey color granite and polished greenish-black color marble further accentuate the bulkhead at the base of the building. The building base is accentuated at the second floor level by several elaborate terra cotta pedimented window heads and a narrow watertable cap with meander decoration. The shaft is dominated at each façade by bays of symmetrically placed windows of varied widths and groups. The central bay on the main Fourth Avenue elevation exhibits additional decorations; decorative terra cotta panels at the 6th through 9th floor levels and elaborate window surrounds and pediments at the 3rd through 5th floor levels. The decoration of this central bay corresponds with the main hotel entry vestibule, which has been updated and altered with the installation of a modern steel and glass canopy. Original double-hung 1/1 window sash appear to remain in place. [The original architectural drawings called for 4/1 and 8/1 multi-pane sash members.] The building cap is accentuated by terra cotta banding at the tenth floor level and ornate floral decorated headers and panels between windows at the tenth floor level. The building cap is further articulated at both elevations by narrow bracketed balconies with terra cotta balustrades. The terminal cornice is surmounted by an ornate articulated parapet decorated with terra cotta panels, terra cotta coping and open balustrades that correspond with the window bays below. At the central bay of each façade is a heavily decorated stepped central parapet wall adorned with urns. The storefront and second floor mezzanine level openings are distinguished by terra cotta cladding that is grooved to give the appearance of cut stone. Original multi-pane tripartite mezzanine level windows remain in place for the most part as do several historic copper and plate glass retail storefronts, with the exception of the lobby bays and the SW corner restaurant where modern anodized aluminum windows have been installed. Two bays at Virginia Street are enclosed. In addition to the new hotel entry canopy, a large modern illuminated sign is located at the SE corner of the building shaft. Canvas awnings are located at the retail storefronts on Fourth Avenue. The lobby interior has been entirely remodeled and no intact or architecturally significant interior building features, finishes or public spaces remain in place.

Detail for 2000 4th AVE / Parcel ID 1604500000 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Terra cotta, Brick - Common Bond Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Domestic - Hotel Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: ten
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Interior: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Storefront: Slight
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
City of Seattle DPD Microfilm Records.
'Hotel Claremont and Apartments" Seattle Times, August 4, 1929.

Photo collection for 2000 4th AVE / Parcel ID 1604500000 / Inv #


Photo taken May 25, 2006
App v2.0.1.0