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Summary for 519 3rd AVE / Parcel ID 0939000035 / Inv #

Historic Name: Drexel Hotel Common Name: Drexel Hotel
Style: Modern, Queen Anne - Richardsonian Romanesque Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1890
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
Underneath the present cladding of the second and third floors of this building is supposed to be the only structure to have survived the Fire of June 6, 1889. While this fact is sometimes questioned, since the King County Assessor Records give a date of 1890 for the building, even though the building technically at the edge of the ‘burnt district,” it is unlikely that a wooden structure would have been built after the Fire, since new construction of wood clad buildings was forbidden by the Ordinance No.1147, passed during the summer of 1889. It is more likely that the Assessor’s Record is giving a date for the finished structure which includes the lower basement and first floor of solid brick masonry. The lower level was designed by the Seattle architecture firm Josenhans and Allan. The older wood structure was then raised upon it. While the upper levels have been reclad probably twice – one source describes the upper levels as having been refaced by “false stone facing,”—surprisingly, they retain the basic configuration of window openings and recessed porches. Raising older wood structures on masonry structures was historically not uncommon in Seattle at one time, but there are now few examples of this sort of structure. The only other well-known extant example of this sort is the Far East Building (former Leyte Hotel) in Seattle’s Chinatown/ International District on Jackson Street, where a series of wood houses were raised up on a more solid masonry ground story (In a later restoration, that structure was entirely remodeled and stuccoed over).In addition to the strong likelihood that the upper structure is the last remnant of buildings that predate the Great Fire of June 6, 1889, this is one of the few curious combinations where an older wood building has been raised up on a later masonry structure, at least within Downtown Seattle. In addition, the masonry portion of the building is designed by Josenhans and Allan, a firm which operated in Seattle until 1912. While less seems to be known about Norris Best Allan, Josenhans’ career is better documented. Timotheus Josenhans was born in Wurttemberg, Germany. He worked briefly for William LeBaron Jenney and then as a railroad construction engineer in Chicago. He arrived in Oregon in 1880 and worked as draftsman in Portland for Joseph Sherwin and Warren Williams. By 1888, he had moved to Seattle and was a draftsman in the office of Hermann Steinmann, the architect of the Terry and Kittinger Building, now known as the Delmar in Pioneer Square. Between 1888 and 1889, he designed powerhouses for Seattle’s electric railways. He formed a partnership with James Stephen which lasted from 1894 and 1897. Josenhans and Allan are also responsible for Parrington Hall on the University of Washington Campus (1903-04).
This building is rectangular in plan, 60’ by 110’, and is three stories with a basement level. Its three story elevation faces west on Third Avenue. Its north facing elevation faces James Street. Here the basement level becomes visible, as the grade slopes down from Third Avenue to Second Avenue. The base of the building, one story along Third Avenue and about a story and a half along James Street is constructed in solid brick. The upper two floors were constructed of double frame construction and originally clad in wood, probably clapboard siding. In any case, historic photos indicate that the top floors were clad with some sort of horizontal wood shingle. Surprisingly, based again on historical photographs, even though the top floors of the building have been reclad in modern-day composite material, the actual design of the top floors – the location of openings and fenestration – has not changed very much. At the ground level, the western elevation has historically had storefronts with clerestory windows , while the second floor still has five single double-hung windows flanked on each side by pairs of double-hung windows. The upper level consists of pairs of double hung windows which flank two recessed porches. The James Street elevation has trabeated storefronts and a series of openings at various levels and in various sizes with segmental arches in the lower brick levels. The third bay of the second level has an odd configuration. The brick clad structure is raised up in this area and appears to be inserted into the recessed porch of the original wooden structure. This is consistent with historic photos. Before the reclading of the upper floors, the five recessed porches on the second and third levels appear to have had delicate columns and railings and possibly ornamental capitals. Also included in the property, and part of the three-story structure, is a one story structure with a flat roof, overhanging cornice on the street side, storefront and original cast-iron columns.

Detail for 519 3rd AVE / Parcel ID 0939000035 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Shingle - Combination Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Domestic - Hotel Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development
Changes to Plan: Slight
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Kreisman, Lawrence. Made to Last, Historic Preservation in Seattle. Historic Preservation Foundation and University of Washington Press, 1999.
Potter, Elizabeth Walton. “Pioneer Square Historic District Expansion Amendment.” December 1976.

Photo collection for 519 3rd AVE / Parcel ID 0939000035 / Inv #

Photo taken May 24, 2004
App v2.0.1.0