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Summary for 1200 3rd AVE / Parcel ID 1975200015 / Inv #

Historic Name: Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co. Building Common Name:
Style: Beaux Arts - American Renaissance Neighborhood: Commercial Core
Built By: Year Built: 1921, 1926
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
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 dozens of 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. Numerous highly distinctive commercial highrise buildings dating from this era have already been designated as City landmarks, including the: Shafer Building (1923); the Dexter Horton (1922); Terminal Sales (1923); Medical Dental Building (1925); Skinner Building (1925); Fourth & Pike (Liggett) Building (1927); 1411 Fourth Avenue (1929); Great Northern Building (1929); Exchange Building (1929); Northern Life Tower (1929); and the Olympic Tower (1929). This distinctive 21-story, brick and terra-cotta clad highrise office building was constructed in two phases in 1921 and 1926. It was designed by the highly regarded local firm of Bebb & Gould and constructed for the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company. Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company was the predecessor to the Pacific Northwest Bell Company, a subsidiary of American Telephone and Telegraph Company (ATT), which evolved to become Pacific Telesis and US West, now Qwest. Pacific Telephone Company was an early California-based telephone and telegraph communication company that gradually acquired numerous smaller telephone companies along the Pacific Coast, such as the local Sunset Telephone Company, which they acquired in 1917. After1920, the company embarked on the construction of numerous telephone-related facilities in the Puget Sound area. Prior to the construction of the initial eighteen floor portion of this building, the company’s downtown offices and equipment facility was located in a building one block south on Third Avenue. Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company purchased the site in July 1919. The initial building – designed to house heavy telephone switching equipment - appears to have been designed by Bebb and Gould in cooperation with E.B. Colby, an architect/engineer with the telephone company. Carl Gould is credited with the design of the 1926 addition as well as the design of several other company buildings in Longview, Yakima, Olympia, Centralia and Tacoma. These buildings were all much smaller scale and strikingly different in their distinctive Art Deco design character. Charles Bebb (1856-1942) was 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 late in 1890, Bebb, still in the employ of Adler and Sullivan, returned to Chicago. However, 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, who had also previously worked for Adler and Sullivan. The firm of Bebb and Mendel are particularly well known for the design of the Corona Building (1903) and the Hoge Building (1911). The firm was also responsible for the design of the Washington State Pavilion (destroyed) at the Seattle Alaska Yukon Exposition in 1909. After the Bebb and Mendel Partnership dissolved in 1914, Bebb formed a successful partnership with Carl F. Gould. Carl F. Gould (1873-1939) was born in New York, educated at Harvard and attended the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris (1898-1903). He interned with McKim, Mead and White (1903-05) and then assisted in the preparation of the Burnham Plan for San Francisco. He settled in Seattle in 1908 with significantly more impressive training than most local architects. He worked with Everett & Baker and then in 1909 he entered into partnership with Daniel Huntington, the skilled designer of numerous notable public and private projects. That partnership produced apartment and commercial buildings while Gould independently designed numerous residences and was an active promoter of the Bogue Plan. He also became the president of the Fine Arts Society, began lecturing at the University of Washington on domestic design and assumed leadership of the Architectural league of the Pacific Coast. In 1914, he founded the university of Washington Department of Architecture and headed the school until 1926. With Charles Bebb serving as principal engineer and construction manager, and Carl F Gould as the principal designer and planner, the two practiced in a flourishing partnership between 1914 until 1924. It became a leading local firm and flourished with over 200 local commissions, including schools, churches, hospitals, memorials, homes, clubhouses, and numerous commercial buildings executed in a wide range of historic revival and non-traditional modern architectural styles. Bebb and Gould produced several of Seattle’s most architecturally distinctive buildings, including: the Times Square Building; Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington; the U.S. Marine Hospital and the original Seattle Art Museum. However, after 1924 Bebb’s role in the firm was significantly reduced. The distinctive original exterior appearance of this building has been significantly altered and is only partially intact. The removal of the broad terminal cornice, removal and alteration of the window sash and the construction of modern retail storefronts has diminished the historic architectural character of the building. However, it is associated with the highly-regarded Seattle architect Carl Gould and appears to be one his largest early commissions. [This property was previously determined eligible for listing in the National Register by the SHPO.]
Prominently located at the sloping NW corner of Third Avenue and Seneca Street, this 13-story office building was designed to house the offices and equipment rooms of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company. It is now used entirely for commercial office purposes. It measures 111’ x 120’ and exhibits a three-part vertical block façade composition and Italian Renaissance derived architectural details and decoration in the Beaux Arts style. It was constructed in two phases with most portions of the initial ten floors built in 1921 and the remaining full 13-story height completed in 1926. The steel and reinforced concrete structure with foundation and basement is heavily reinforced due to its initial use that included housing heavy equipment. It is clad with cream-color terra cotta (and granite) at the base, variegated red brick laid in a Flemish bond at the shaft and a combination of both at the building cap. The two principal facades are nearly identical in composition, each with a prominent three-story arcaded base, eight story shaft and two-story arcaded cap. Each of the facades is divided vertically into six window bays that correspond over the full height of the building. The base is distinguished by a two-story section clad with rusticated terra cotta panels and accentuated by recessed two-story high segmental arched window openings with decorated terra cotta voussoirs and scrolled keystones. Dark-color recessed second floor level window panels and glazed terra cotta spandrels accentuate this arcade element. Surmounting the window bays is a wide denticulated intermediate cornice above which is a one-story band of paired windows set in terra cotta frames and separated by composite terra cotta pilasters. An ornate intermediate terra cotta frieze and cornice separates this element from the building shaft. The shaft is distinguished by brick-clad piers and recessed spandrels with windows uniformly set in pairs. Terra cotta plinths and caps correspond with each of the piers. An additional intermediary cornice serves to visually cap the shaft. The upper two stories form a distinctive building cap composed of two-story round arched windows with terra cotta arched heads that spring from brick and terra cotta composite pilasters. This arcade is further accentuated by recessed terra cotta spandrels and decorative medallions located between each arch. The roofline is now abruptly terminated by plain parapet as the original heavily denticulated terminal cornice has been removed. Alterations also include the removal of the entire granite bulkhead and all of the original first floor level windows along with the installation of entirely new storefront construction and a modern steel/glass entry canopy. All of the original 3/3 double-hung window sash appear to have been replaced with modern (primarily fixed) sash members. There do not appear to be any intact or architecturally significant interior building features, finishes or public spaces.

Detail for 1200 3rd AVE / Parcel ID 1975200015 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick - Flemish Bond Foundation(s): Unknown
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s):
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: thirteen
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Communications
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Storefront: Extensive
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Interior: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
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.
Booth, T. William and William H. Wilson. Carl F. Gould, A Life in Architecture and The Arts. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995.
Courtois, Shirley L. METRO Downtown Seattle Transit Project FEIS Inventory Form, 1984.
Aldredge, Lydia. Impressions of Imagination: Terra Cotta Seattle, Allied Arts of Seattle, 1986.

Photo collection for 1200 3rd AVE / Parcel ID 1975200015 / Inv #

Photo taken May 18, 2006
App v2.0.1.0