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Summary for 4700 University WAY / Parcel ID 8816400265 / Inv # UD064

Historic Name: Wilsonian Common Name: Wilsonian
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: University
Built By: Frank Fowler, architect Year Built: 1923
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.
The Wilsonian Apartment Hotel was constructed and designed by the architect Frank Fowler in 1923. The University District realtor Corinne Simpson-Wilson and her husband originally owned the building. The construction cost was approximately $850,000. The apartment building contained 99 apartments as the Wilson’s met, became engaged, and were married on the ninth day of the month; their first phone number was Kenwood 9. The first floor contained a lobby, a dining hall, a ballroom, a post office and a mah jong room. The dining hall was named the Peacock Inn and was originally run by Miss Helen Swope. The ballroom has a spring hardwood floor with separate checkrooms for men and women. The ballrooms mahogany doors were inlaid with ebony. The walls of the first floor were paneled in mahogany and tapestry. The chairs and wall seat were also made of mahogany and were upholstered with silk velour and mohair. Velvet rugs covered the tile floors. The building was “declared to contain more standing lamps than any four apartment houses in the Northwest, and there are no two alike.” Mrs. Wilson had the lamps especially commissioned and all contained the Wilson crest. Fifty canaries in cages were found throughout the building. The 99 apartments, all exterior apartments, were each decorated differently. The apartments contained full-length mirrors and Murphy beds.
The Wilsonian is a seven-story U-shaped apartment building with commercial on the ground floor. The main entrance is reached through the courtyard on the West side of the building. The windows are paired double-hung, three part double-hung, and single double-hung windows. These windows are not original, but are modern replacements. Above the second story is a decorative cast stone cornice. A similar cornice is repeated above the sixth floor. The cornice at the top of the building is simple compared to those beneath, with a decorative strip of brickwork below a diminutive pediment. The commercial storefronts were originally confined to the courtyard; storefronts have since been punched into the West elevation facing onto University Way. The storefront changes are the most substantial changes to the buildings appearance. Because of its size and massing, the Wilsonian is a very prominent building within the commercial district. The face brick was purchased from the Washington Brick Co., the common brick from the Lake Union Brick Co., and the terra cotta from the Northern Clay Co. of Auburn. The mahogany used throughout the Wilsonian was purchased from the American Trading Co. of Seattle. The Robinson Tile and Supply Co did the tile work. The general contractors were the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Co. The Wilsonian housed University faculty members and employees. The first and only woman mayor of Seattle Bertha Landes and her husband UW Professor Hentry Landes lived in the Wilsonian lived in the Wilsonian during her term as mayor.

Detail for 4700 University WAY / Parcel ID 8816400265 / Inv # UD064

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Other
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: U-Shape
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: seven
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Storefront: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
"Wilsonian, Seattle's Newest Apartment Hotel." Hotel News of the West, April 26, 1924.
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Nielsen, Roy. UniverCity: The Story of The University District in Seattle. Seattle: University Lions Foundation, 1986.

Photo collection for 4700 University WAY / Parcel ID 8816400265 / Inv # UD064

Photo taken Oct 04, 2001

Photo taken Oct 04, 2001
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