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Summary for 110 Lee ST / Parcel ID 2127200025 / Inv # SFD004

Historic Name: Fire Station No. 8 Common Name:
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1964
Completed in 1964, this modern fire station is the fourth to serve this area of Queen Anne Hill. In 1893, the first Queen Anne fire station went into service in a small one-story wood frame building located on West Lee Street at First Avenue West. Two years earlier, L.H. Thompson and Fred Sander had established their North Seattle Cable Railway in 1891, which extended service to the top of Queen Anne Hill. This line was electrified in 1901, and a counterbalance system was added to help streetcars up and down Queen Anne Avenue’s steep grade. The establishment of the streetcar line spurred residential and commercial development up the flanks of the steep hill and over the top of it to an area previously considered mostly inaccessible. Built to serve this burgeoning community, this first station remained in use for ten years until a new station was constructed in 1903. The larger two-story wood frame building was located on Fifth Avenue West between West Galer and West Garfield Streets, two blocks to the north and four blocks to the west. When the fire department developed plans to add a second fire station in the area five years later, they selected an unused site on the northeast corner of a parcel owned by the Seattle Water Department. The Water Department had acquired the property located on Warren Avenue North and Lee Street in 1900 for the purpose of constructing a standpipe to serve Queen Anne Hill as part of the initial phase of the new Cedar River water system. This initial phase included Queen Anne Tank No. 1 completed in 1901 with an observation gallery built at the top, which was open to the public. In 1902, this property became known as Observatory Park through a designation by the City Council. A second standpipe, Queen Anne Tank No. 2, was completed in 1904. Completed in 1908, the new fire station was nearly identical to the original Fire Station No. 15, built three years earlier in 1905. Located on the corner of Minor Avenue and Virginia Street, this two-story wood frame building featured a distinctive Mission Revival-style design. After constructing the new fire station, the Fire Department decided against forming a new company and instead moved Fire Station No. 8 into the new facility located some seven blocks to the east. The older building became Fire Station No. 24 the following year when one of the companies quartered on the grounds of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition relocated there after the fair’s conclusion. This station remained in service until its closure in 1949. This building remained in continuous operation until 1964, except for an eight-month period in the early 1930s. Between April 1933 and January 1934, many stations were closed, and hundreds of firemen were laid off in a move by Mayor John F. Dore to economize due to the financial depression. By the early 1960s, the Fire Department determined that a new modern facility should replace the old wood frame building. In order to maintain fire protection services for the area, the Fire Department chose to build its new building on the southeast corner of the property, where the Park Department’s tennis courts were located. The architecture firm of Alfors V. Peterson and John W. Adams prepared the plans for the new two-story brick facility, which featured a Modern design. Ten years earlier, the city had hired former Park Board architect Alfors V. Peterson and his partner John W. Adams to design three new shelter houses at Beacon Hill, East Queen Anne and University Playfields. Once the new building opened in 1964, the older building was demolished in order to construct new tennis courts. In 1986, Fire Station No. 8 was extensively remodeled, which substantially altered the appearance of the building. This included reorienting the apparatus bays to face Lee Street rather than Warren Avenue North, which required additions on the north and south elevations to accommodate the equipment. Despite these alterations, the fire station is significant for its design and for its associations with the development of the Seattle Fire Department and Queen Anne Hill.
Completed in 1964, this two-story brick building occupies the southeast corner of Observatory Courts, a small park located at the intersection of Warren Avenue North and Lee Street. The park contains two tennis courts, however other City facilities cover most of the property. In addition to the fire station, the park also contains two SPU standpipes, Queen Anne Tanks No. 1 and No. 2, and a Seattle City Light radio transmission tower and control building. This Modern building’s prominent features include an overhanging flat roof, an exposed concrete frame filled with brick, and a large hose tower at the northwest corner. Originally, the building had a roughly rectangular plan, which measured 40 feet by 66 feet. At the first story of the east elevation, a single large opening contained the overhead entrance door of the engine bay. A 1986 remodel reoriented vehicular access to the engine bay. The construction of two 1½-story wings along the eastern ends of the north and south elevations resulted in a building with a T-plan. The new additions created a longer engine bay and accommodated new, higher apparatus doors but significantly altered the original appearance. On the east elevation, the original overhead door opening has been filled by a band of long narrow windows set above wide panels. The original shallow flat roof over the opening remains, as does the pin-mounted façade sign, which reads "FIRE STATION No. 8." On the south elevation, the exposed concrete frame divides the façade into four bays. Within the western bay, a flat roof covers a glassed in entrance bay at the ground floor level below a horizontal window opening at the upper story. Originally, the remaining bays each featured a horizontal window opening at the second story centered above a larger vertical opening at the first story. As a result of the 1986 renovation, the later addition fills the two eastern bays below the windows on the upper floor. The north elevation contains three bays adjacent to the hose tower at the western end. On this elevation, the later addition also fills the eastern two bays below the second story windows. The third bay has an additional tall narrow window opening to light the interior stairwell. Capped by an overhanging flat roof, the adjacent hose tower has the same exposed concrete frame filled with brick. A single entrance door on the west elevation provides access to the tower from the exterior. The building’s west elevation has a single horizontal window opening at the southern end. Although well maintained, this building retains less physical integrity after the renovations of the 1980s.

Detail for 110 Lee ST / Parcel ID 2127200025 / Inv # SFD004

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Government - Fire Station Plan: T-Shape
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Politics/Government/Law
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Seattle Fire Department, Centennial Commemorative, 1889-1989. Portland, OR: Taylor Pub. Co., c1989.

Photo collection for 110 Lee ST / Parcel ID 2127200025 / Inv # SFD004

Photo taken Nov 10, 2000
App v2.0.1.0