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Summary for 600 Olive WAY / Parcel ID 0659000330 / Inv #

Historic Name: Garage Building for the Olive Way Building Company/ Fox Garage Common Name: European Antiques
Style: Art Deco, Gothic, Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Denny Triangle
Built By: Year Built: 1925
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
According to original drawings, this building was designed by “Stoddard and Son, Architect and Engineer” as a “Garage Building for the Olive Way Building Company” in 1925. These drawings, which are faded, as well as a photo from 1936, suggest that the upper levels of this building have been barely altered, if at all. On the other hand, storefronts were large plate glass expanses and in terms of design, related to the composition of the upper floors. At this time, the ground floor was occupied by an auto parts store. According to drawings from October 1950, the architecture firm of Victor N. Jones & Associates was responsible for the present, somewhat unusual, classically inspired surrounds and punched storefronts. This new elevation was designed as the Sixth and Olive Branch of the Seattle Trust and Savings Bank. The later corner entry and the metal canopy were designed in 1973 by architect Ralph Anderson, known for his early restoration of Pioneer Square buildings. Despite the changes to the ground level, (which can nevertheless be seen as a very early Post-Modern attempt), the building appears to be virtually intact at the upper levels. Because of the location of the building and the massing and detailing of these upper floors, the building remains an imposing sight in Seattle’s Downtown. Above the ground level, it is also an excellent example of a garage design that contributes to and does not detract from the urban landscape. “Stoddard & Son Architect and Engineer” refers to Lewis M. Stoddard and his son, George Wellington Stoddard, who had a joint practice from 1920 to 1929. Less is known about the father, but George Stoddard received a B.S. in architecture from the University of Illinois in 1917. The firm designed the Winthrop Hotel in Tacoma (completed 1927), but Lewis M. Stoddard died shortly thereafter in 1929. George Wellington Stoddard practiced independently until 1955 and seems to have had a thriving, or at least, a varied practice in Seattle. He designed banks, apartment buildings, houses and warehouses, two of which can be found in the South Lake Union neighborhood. For instance, not long after the completion of this garage building, George Wellington Stoddard designed a striking, but little known warehouse in the Art Deco Style at 777 Thomas Street (South Lake Union neighborhood), completed in 1931, as well a second warehouse at 227 9th Avenue. In 1939, with architect Harrison Overturf, he created a somewhat historicist bank exterior for an existing building, the Central Bank of the National Bank of Commerce at 500 Olive Way, across the street from this garage. The bank building was apparently demolished and replaced by the present Modernist “National Bank of Commerce,” also designed by George Stoddard in 1955. This is currently a downtown branch of the Bank of America. George Wellington Stoddard also designed Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center in 1947 and the Green Lake Aqua Theater in 1950. From 1955 to 1960, he was part of Stoddard, Huggard and Associates. He died in September of 1967. The firm of Victor N. Jones & Associates, founded by architect Victor Noble Jarrett Jones, was in business from 1946 to 1955. Previously Victor Jones had been a partner in the Seattle firm of McLelland and Jones (1933 to 1946). That firm was responsible, for instance, for early Modernist buildings in Seattle, such as 300 Dexter Ave N (1945 and 1950) and for the Moderne warehouse at 234 9th Ave. N., (now Jones Soda), located in the South Lake Union area. Victor Jones was born in 1900 in Exeter Ontario and was educated at the University of Washington and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a M.Arch. in 1926. His early work experience was in Philadelphia. He also designed the 1964-1967 Washington State Ferry Terminal as well as the first Medical School Building (1952) and the Administration Building (1947-1949) at the University of Washington. He was obviously comfortable with Modernism, as well as with historical styles; however, the unorthodox version of historical detailing and design, as applied to the ground level of this building, seems, perhaps, inconsistent with the Jones’ other work (or that of his firms).
This is a seven story building, with a flat roof and a distinctive parapet with Gothic Revival elements. Trapezoidal in plan (119’ x 119’ x 112’ x 77’), it is set on the corner of Olive Way and 6th Avenue. It has a concrete structure and is clad in stucco above a cast stone cornice and mainly in cast stone at the ground level. The design of the upper levels is marked by simplified Gothic Revival elements and industrial sash glazing. The ground floor elevations mainly have disproportionately tall and narrow punched openings with classically inspired surrounds. The composition of the ground floor elevations is not necessarily tied to that of the upper floors. The street level spaces are tall and mainly occupied by storefront: storefront occurs at the corner of Olive Way and 6th Avenue, on the entire 6th Avenue facade and on the western bays of the Olive Way elevation. There is also a simple corner entry, with a metal canopy. The three eastern bays along Olive Way contain garage openings, which lead to (and from) the garage, which occupies the remaining upper levels. Above the ground level, main elevations, which correspond to the garage, are divided into distinct bays, in part thanks to engaged pilasters with Gothic finials: the 6th Avenue façade has five bays, while the Olive Way elevation has six bays. Both elevations have a symmetrical composition and similar elements, but are not identical. The parapet, which is raised at the end bays, is one of the most important features of the building exterior. Decorated with simplified Gothic Revival finials and ornamentation, the raised parapet creates tower-like elements at the Olive Way and 6th Avenue corner and at the end bays. These bays also protrude very slightly, further distinguishing the corner and end bays from the intermediate bays. The tower-like impression is further reinforced by vertical banks of windows. The following gives additional detail concerning the two main facades and the ground level: Along 6th Avenue, other elements include end bays with vertical banks of single window openings, filled with multi-pane industrial sash. The northern end bay is topped by an arch incised in the stucco, which is decorated with a Gothic tracery motif, while the south end bay, part of the corner “tower,” ends with an arched semi-circular transom light. Reinforcing the verticality, are recessed spandrels, each with a slightly protruding diamond shape, currently painted a dark red. The taller 6th Avenue end bays flank three intermediate bays with a lower parapet level. At each level, the most central of the intermediate bays has a rectangular window opening, filled with industrial sash. The glazing appears as a pair of multi-pane units, each of which is five panes in height and 3 panes in width. The top level opening is topped by a segmental arch incised in the stucco, also decorated with a Gothic tracery motif. To each side of this central window opening and bay are wider intermediate bays, with larger openings filled with a pair of multi-pane units, each of which is 5 panes in height and 5 panes in width. On the Olive Way elevation, each of the bays is wider and has wider window openings. The end bays, for instance, have a double vertical bank of windows, each one topped by an arched transom. In turn, the arches are set within and below a wider arch incised in the stucco- more of a Neo-Romanesque motif. Spandrels are adorned with a double row of diamond shapes. The two central bays, which are identical, are narrower: As with the central bay on the 6th Avenue façade, the glazing appears as a pair of multi-pane units, each of which is five panes in height and 3 panes in width. To each side of the central bays, two wider intermediate bays have wide rectangular openings, filled with a set of three multi-pane units, each fives panes in height and 4 panes in width. At the ground level, storefronts are mainly tall windows, with modified classically inspired window surrounds in cast stone, which include a stylized keystone motif. For instance, there are three of these, on each of the facades, and set to each side of a wide corner entry. Storefronts in a similar design, with even taller openings, flank the entry to a bank space, located on the west side of the 6th Avenue facade. This entry itself consists of a lower door surround, with a mock Federal style broken pediment. In general the proportion and detailing of these openings, as well as the composition of the ground level elevations, seem to have little to do with the composition and design of the upper floors. Clearly too, there is a real contrast in style.

Detail for 600 Olive WAY / Parcel ID 0659000330 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Concrete - Block, Stone - Cast Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: seven
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Transportation
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
“777 Thomas Street” and “ 227 9th Avenue,” Historic Property Inventory Reports, City of Seattle Historic Neighborhood Inventory Database, 2005.

Photo collection for 600 Olive WAY / Parcel ID 0659000330 / Inv #

Photo taken Feb 11, 2006
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