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Summary for 5801 S Pilgrim ST S / Parcel ID 0223049015 / Inv # DPR038

Historic Name: Rainier Beach Playground Field House/Hutchinson Playfield Field House Common Name: Hutchinson Community Center
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Rainier Beach
Built By: Year Built: 1948
This brick building was constructed in 1948-49 to serve as a field house for Rainier Beach Playground, as it was known at the time. The field house was constructed to replace a 1911 wood-frame comfort station on nearly the same site after the community petitioned the Parks Department. In 1910, the city had acquired the property for the playfield located immediately west of Emerson Elementary School. The Seattle School District had completed the three-story brick building the previous year to replace an earlier frame structure on the same site. The Seattle School District had acquired the earlier school building when the City of Seattle annexed the Rainier Beach neighborhood in 1907. Rainier Beach had seen its first residential and commercial development in the early 1890s, which accelerated after the establishment of streetcar service to downtown Seattle via the Rainier Avenue Electric Railway. The Parks Department purchase of the playfield site adjacent to the school followed a policy developed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm. In 1903, the city had hired the Olmsted Brothers to prepare plans for a comprehensive park and boulevard system, including suggestions for improvements to existing parks. This was supplemented by an additional report in 1908 to include the large areas annexed by the city the previous year, which included Rainier Beach. In their recommendations, the Olmsted Brothers advocated for the creation of playgrounds located near schools so teachers could direct the children’s activities. The idea of public recreation facilities in parks had only become popular late in the 19th and early in the 20th centuries, and the Olmsted Brothers were at the forefront of the movement. Implementation of the report began almost immediately, however not always as envisioned by the Olmsteds. In 1910, the city acquired a full block site across 59th Avenue South from Emerson Elementary School, and began making improvements the following year, including the construction of a frame comfort station. During the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) made additional improvements to the athletic fields, however, the financial difficulties of the 1930s and the shortages of labor and materials due to the Second World War halted the construction of most new park buildings until the later 1940s. This small brick field house was completed in 1949 with funding provided by a bond issue approved by voters the previous year. The Parks Department had constructed its first field houses in 1911 at Hiawatha and Ballard Playfields. Within the next several years, similar wood frame field houses were constructed at Collins, and South Park Playfields. In the later 1920s, larger masonry field houses were constructed at Green Lake Park and Rainier Playfield. During the 1930s, two smaller brick field houses had been built at Laurelhurst and Montlake Playfields. The 1948 bond issue also funded the construction of two larger field houses at Loyal Heights and West Queen Anne Playfields, however these structures were not completed until 1950. The modern design of the 1940s and 1950s field houses contrasted with the earlier buildings, which generally exhibited Craftsman or period revival stylistic features. In 1965, the community petitioned the Parks Board to change the name of the playfield to honor Fred Hutchinson, a former Rainier Beach resident and prominent baseball player who had died of cancer the previous year. With its Modern stylistic features, this building is significant for its design and for its association with the development of the Hutchinson Playfield.
Completed in 1949, this brick field house occupies a site within the northeast corner of Hutchinson Playfield near the intersection of South Pilgrim Street and 59th Avenue South. The one-story building has an overhanging gable on hip roof and a rectangular plan, which measures 58 feet by 38 feet. The Modern building faces north towards the street and away from the ballfields beyond the rear. Originally, a recreation room with an office at the rear occupied the eastern half of the building, while locker, shower, and restroom facilities occupied the western half. The principal north elevation has a recessed opening at the center, which contains full-length windows adjacent to double metal entrance doors. At the eastern end of the elevation, a large opening contains three multi-paned metal sash windows opening onto the recreation room. This room has another slightly smaller opening on the east elevation with three multi-paned windows. Metal sash windows wrap the southeast corner of the building where the office was located originally. At the western end of the north elevation, three smaller horizontal openings with multi-paned windows are set high on the wall below the roofline. On the west elevation, a narrow door opening at the northern end has been converted to a small window opening set high on the wall. A multi-paned metal window covered with a metal grate now fills this opening. A larger horizontal opening with a multi-paned window remains extant near the center of the elevation adjacent to a single entrance door below a narrow transom. The brickwork around the door opening displays signs of alteration or repair. The rear south elevation contains two additional horizontal openings with multi-paned windows within the western half and two entrance doors at the center. A smaller horizontal window is situated between these doors and a third entrance at the eastern end before the corner window. A brick chimney straddles the ridge near the center of the building where a fireplace is located within the recreation room. A concrete curb around the building creates planting beds. This architecturally distinctive building retains good physical integrity despite the alterations noted above.

Detail for 5801 S Pilgrim ST S / Parcel ID 0223049015 / Inv # DPR038

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable, Hip Roof Material(s): Metal - Corrugated
Building Type: Other Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Unknown No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Erigero, Patricia. Seattle Public Schools Historic Building Survey Summary Report. Seattle, WA: Historic Seattle PDA, 1990.

Photo collection for 5801 S Pilgrim ST S / Parcel ID 0223049015 / Inv # DPR038

Photo taken Oct 27, 2000
App v2.0.1.0