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Summary for 606 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 09390000100 / Inv #

Historic Name: Corona Building/ Oriental Building Common Name: Corona Building
Style: Commercial - Sullivaneque Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1903
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The Corona Building, formerly known as the Oriental Building, was built in 1903 for Hamm and Schmidtz and was still part of the Emma Schmidtz Estate in the early 1970s. Its siting represents the gradual expansion, particularly toward the north, of Seattle’s original downtown. The building was designed by Bebb and Mendel. It shows influence of the Chicago School and also of Bebb’s early involvement in the production of terra cotta. Bebb and Mendel also used Sullivanesque ornament and terra cotta on the Schwabacher Hardware Company Building (1903-05) on First Avenue South and Jackson Street. Both Bebb and Mendel had significant experience in the Midwest of the United States, where we know for sure that Bebb worked for Adler and Sullivan in Chicago and Mendel worked for Schweinfurth Brothers in Cleveland. There is a chance that Mendel also worked for Adler and Sullivan. Both architects would have been influenced by trends in Chicago and not unaware of Louis Sullivan’s work. The Corona Building, as well as the Schwabacher Hardware Company Building and other works by this firm, marks a new sophistication in the work of Seattle architects. These were practitioners who were often educated as architects and had had important professional experience, before coming to Seattle, somewhat different from the case of architects who appeared in Seattle right after the Fire of 1889, who often started out as carpenters and might have been self-educated. The following gives more background on Bebb and Mendel and explains why the Corona Building reflects the influence of the Chicago School and Bebb’s interest in terra cotta. Charles Bebb was born in England in 1856 and educated in London and at a preparatory school in Switzerland before attending the University of Lausanne. He also studied engineering at the School of Mines in London and worked as a railroad engineer in South Africa before moving to the United States. By 1888, he had been hired by Adler and Sullivan in Chicago as the chief superintendent architect on the building of the Auditorium Building. In 1890, he was sent by Adler and Sullivan to superintend the building of the Seattle Opera House. The project was never built and later in 1890, Bebb, still in the employ of Adler and Sullivan, returned to Chicago. He returned to Seattle in September 1893 and became a designer for the local Denny Clay Company. His work there is credited with making the Denny Clay Company a leading producer of architectural terra cotta on the West Coast. By 1898, he had an independent architectural practice and by 1901, a partnership with Louis Leonard Mendel, originally a native of Mayen, Germany. Mendel had begun his architectural career in the offices of Lehman and Schmidt and of the Schweinfurth Brothers in Cleveland. He may also have worked for Adler and Sullivan. The firm of Bebb and Mendel produced several Seattle architectural gems, including the Hoge Building in downtown Seattle (just outside the district) and the Schwabacher Hardware Company Building at First Avenue South and Jackson Street. The firm also produced the Washington State Pavilion at the Seattle Alaska Yukon Exposition in 1909 (no longer standing). After the Bebb and Mendel Partnership dissolved in 1914, Bebb formed a successful partnership with Carl Gould. Bebb and Gould produced more Seattle architectural gems, such as the Times Square Building in downtown Seattle and Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington until Gould’s death in 1939. Bebb died in 1942. In more recent times, the building became part of the real estate portfolio of Sam Israel, who bought many properties in the Pioneer Square District, beginning in the 1940s. The property is administered by the Samis Land Company and was recently restored.
The Corona Building is located mid-block on Second Avenue between, to the north, the Alaska Building, which towers over it and, to the south, the Art Deco Hartford Building, which is only two stories tall. The Corona Building is six stories in height with red brick walls and matching terra cotta trim. The only elevation designed to be façade is on Second Avenue. Above the ground level storefront on Second Avenue, the façade consists of four vertical central bays, with one single window opening per floor, framed by piers. Spandrels and window openings are slightly recessed behind the piers. At each floor, the side bays each have a wider trabeated opening with two double-hung windows in a wood frame. All of these bays rise four stories above a belt-course to a second belt course. At the top level, four central windows correspond to the four central bays below and are separated by short pilasters with Sullivanesque ornament on their shafts. The four central windows at the top form a unit, which looks like a loggia. The side bays at the top level are wider openings like those on the lower floors. While the overall composition of the façade is pleasing, the most striking feature is the profusion of Sullivanesque floral ornament in terra cotta which runs the length of the façade above the storefront, below the second belt-course and finally covers most of the top level of the façade. The building is capped by a projecting cornice with modillions. The building follows the classical Chicago School model and has a clearly defined base, middle and top. It is also has some of the finest examples of Sullivanesque ornament that can be seen in Seattle.

Detail for 606 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 09390000100 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition, Unknown
Building Type: Domestic - Hotel Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: six
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Community Planning/Development
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Storefront: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Ochsner, Jeffrey and Dennis Andersen. Distant Corner: Seattle Architects and The Legacy of H. H. Richardson. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2004.
Andrews, Mildred et al. Pioneer Square: Seattle's Oldest Neighborhood. Manuscript. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, forthcoming 2005.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Brians, Ann Elizabeth. Indomitable Pioneer Square. Master of Urban Planning Thesis, University of Washington, Seattle, 1973.

Photo collection for 606 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 09390000100 / Inv #

Photo taken Nov 08, 2004

Photo taken May 24, 2004

Photo taken May 24, 2004
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