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 421 Eastlake AVE / Parcel ID 6847700050 / Inv #

Historic Name: Garage for A. A. Bain and A. D. Shafer/ Pontius Garage Common Name: Foreign Auto Rebuild
Style: Spanish - Eclectic, Spanish - Mission Neighborhood: Cascade
Built By: Year Built: 1926
 
Significance
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).
This is a unique remnant of the business/ residential district that once existed in the 600, 500 and 400 block of Eastlake and began with the construction of the Jensen Block on the 600 block in 1906. This building is also notable in Seattle, because of its unique design and the manner is which the eclectic Mission style is applied to a garage/auto repair building. Other important and extant buildings in the very prominently placed ensemble of buildings include the Carolina Court, 429 Eastlake Avenue East, now a tavern and glass studio, the Queen Anne and wooden 425 Eastlake East next door, once an apartment building, and the Grandview Apartments. This is the best preserved of the two remaining and purely commercial structures. Original drawings indicate that the building was designed by William J. Bain, Sr. as “a Garage for A. A. Bain and A.D. Shafer” in 1926. Ten years later, the building was called the Pontius Garage and went by that name in the late 1930s. By October 1944, like a few other buildings in the neighborhood, the building was in the ownership of the New Richmond Laundry. Most of the original elements of the design are intact, including the screens made of turned wood and the tile roofs. Even though storefronts have been replaced by wide garage door openings, the overall shape, which is unique, and much of the interesting detailing of the building remain from 1926. The architect, William J. Bain, Senior, is known as one of the founders of what became Naramore, Bain, Brady and Johanson, now NBBJ. NBBJ, was founded in 1943 and is now one of the largest architecture firms in the United States, with unparalleled fame and influence in Seattle. William Bain, Sr. began his career as an apprentice for W.R. B. Wilcox, Arthur Loveless and other Seattle architects in the 1910s and then studied at the University of Pennsylvania, known for its Beaux Arts curriculum and the teachings of Paul Philippe Cret. Bain graduated in 1921. Upon return to Seattle, he worked for both Wilcox and Loveless and then in Los Angeles in the offices of Johnson, Kaufman and Coate. After his return to Seattle from Los Angeles in 1924, his practice produced eclectically designed buildings, including apartment buildings and residences. The designs were in a variety of styles, influenced by Norman and English farmhouses, the Georgian Revival and Moderne. Obviously, last but not least, he designed this Mission Style garage, designed very early in his practice. Some of the detailing is reminiscent of a Spanish/ Mission Style mortuary, (later converted to movie theater), designed by W.R.B. Wilcox in Eugene, Oregon. Bain was in a partnership with Lionel Pries from 1928 to 1932. In the 1940s, he experimented with streamlined Moderne forms and also worked with J. Lister Holmes on the design of Yesler Terrace. As part of the war effort during WWII, in 1942, Bain became Camouflage Director for the State of Washington. By 1947, Bain also had a residential practice in Bain and Overturf, which was separate from Naramore Bain Brady and Johanson. From the 1940s to 1975, when he became semi-retired, he seems to have been a Modernist, whose residential work nevertheless reflected Colonial Revival and New England Cottage influence in a muted form. He died in 1985.
 
Appearance
This is a one story garage and auto repair building, with an eclectic Mission style stucco façade. There is also some brick veneer. The actual exterior structural walls are of concrete, with timber post and beam on the interior. The plan of the building can be seen as a rectangle about 60’ by 114’ with an imaginary half circle about 27’ feet in radius scooped out of it, which is then replaced by a polygon whose sides follow the shape of the half circle, with one 25’ side or chord placed symmetrically and parallel to Eastlake (which also chops off the top curve of the imaginary half circle), flanked by two angled sides or chords about 11’ feet long, then flanked by another 2 symmetrically placed and angled sides that are 9’-6”long and then finished by two sides that are 8’ long. These sides or chords define the elevation, parallel to Eastlake and then the variously angled elevations of the former Pontius Garage. The real roof of the building is flat with a parapet, but is detailed to completely camouflage its real nature. The central face of the elevation has a parapet that steps up with a very slight curve and then a right angle, then with a second right angle from each side to form a low curved and raised parapet. This curved shape is reminiscent of the facades of Mission Style buildings, but is unornamented. Below this is a comparatively low (the height of a storefront) but wide rectangular opening that takes up most of the elevation as well as a door opening. The next two angled facades to each side of this central elevation have a false pitched roof with Spanish tile and wide openings on the first level. Over the wide openings of the first set of angled elevations, are square openings with a wood grill made up of repeated decorative spindle shapes in turned wood. The wide openings have metal garage doors that are closed, when the repair shop is not open. The last angled façade to each side has higher walls, with a straight parapet. The southern one also has a small subsequent office addition, with the same sort of low pitched roof with Spanish tile, seen in the rest of the design. This addition seems to be in keeping with the rest of the design and is not that perceptible from the street.

Detail for 421 Eastlake AVE / Parcel ID 6847700050 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Varied roof lines Roof Material(s): Clay Tile, Other
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Other
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry, Transportation
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Intact
Storefront: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.

Photo collection for 421 Eastlake AVE / Parcel ID 6847700050 / Inv #


Photo taken Sep 30, 2003
App v2.0.1.0