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Summary for 104 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800461 / Inv #

Historic Name: Lippy Building Common Name: Lippy Building
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1902
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
Known for a time, at least in the late 1960s, as the Kind Building, the Lippy Building is named after its original owner, T. S. Lippy. Lippy, who had previously been Secretary of the Seattle YMCA, had made a fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush, where he had dug eighty-five thousand dollars worth of gold nuggets. (Current King County Tax records on the GIS map locator on the web, incidentally, call it the “Libby Building,” but is not consistent with the building’s history). The building was designed mainly as a warehouse and had retail at the storefront of the First Avenue South elevation. The Lippy Building was completed by 1902 and designed by E. W. Houghton, also the architect with Charles Saunders, of the adjacent Olympic Block, a once very imposing building, which collapsed dramatically in 1972. E. W. Houghton’s known career in Seattle began in late 1889 when he formed an architectural partnership, Saunders and Houghton with Charles Saunders. Houghton may have met Saunders in California, where both men had worked before starting careers in Seattle, after the Fire of 1889. Edwin Houghton was born in Hampshire, England in 1856 and came from a family of quantity surveyors and architects. He was apprenticed in the London architectural office of Thomas Houghton, his brother and in Chelsea. Before arriving in Seattle in September 1889, he had first worked as a farmer outside of El Paso, Texas; he then had opened an independent architectural practice in Pasadena, California. He moved with his family to Port Townsend, Washington in early 1889. The Saunders and Houghton partnership produced many Seattle gems, including the Bailey Building. The partnership dissolved in 1891 and Houghton had an independent practice. By the time of the Klondike Gold Rush, Houghton’s practice had begun to thrive. He became known as a designer of theaters and worked for Seattle theater impresario John Cort. Houghton, in fact, was the architect of theaters all over Washington State. He also designed the Heilig Theater in Portland, Oregon (now Arlene Schnitzer Playhouse), the Cort Theater in Chicago (destroyed) and the Pinney Theater Block in Boise, Idaho (destroyed). In Seattle, the Moore Theater is still used as theater and the Grand Opera House is now the Cherry Street Parking Garage. It is from the early years of this independent practice that the Lippy Building, somewhat modest compared to some of these more ornate and intricate designs, also dates. Other buildings from around the same period, however, have mostly been demolished: the Arcade and Estabrook Buildings and the Berkshire Hotel, all from between 1901 and 1903. Houghton also designed the original building from 1900 at 213 Second Avenue Extension, located in the southwest corner of Main Street and Second Avenue Extension. It too lost it top floors and one of its facades. While Houghton continued to practice architecture in Seattle until his death in 1927, his heyday as a theater designer lasted until about 1910. He is one of the few architects who began a career right after the Fire of 1889 and continued to do significant projects well into the 1920s.
The Lippy Building is currently a four story building with a flat roof and parapet and a cornice. The only street elevation faces First Avenue South. In general, exterior walls are of brick, with light gray brick and sandstone veneer and trim on the main façade. The original interior structure is of heavy timber. The building has a basement level, not visible from the exterior. The main façade lost its top floor and original cornice in 1950, a result of the Earthquake of 1949. The current cornice, which has very large projecting dentils, is a replacement for an original cornice in the same location. The east side of the building, not visible from the street, is characterized by its common red brick exterior and arched window openings, several of which have been filled in with masonry. On this side the parapet is concrete The straightforward and well-proportioned design, particularly the upper floors of the main facade, typifies warehouse buildings of the early 1900s in the district. The building’s base level – a double floor – is clad in rusticated sandstone, but a storefront takes up most of this portion of the façade. A tall metal column (original) occurs midpoint under the cast stone lintel of the large rectangular ground floor opening. Storefront then fills this opening. The storefront had undergone many changes by the 1980s and the current storefront dates from a 1980s restoration of the building. Above these levels, there is a projecting sandstone belt course, surmounted by two bays. Wall cladding is mainly light grey brick - with rusticated stone trim between windows and at second and third floor lintels; but each bay, (three floors of three windows ganged together in the horizontal direction), is framed by a smooth molding which projects out slightly from the light grey brick. A curious detail at the north side of the façade is a tall engaged stone column, set above the stone belt course, and corresponding in height to the two top stories. It has a Romanesque Revival capital of modified acanthus leaves. It appears to be a vestige of the original Olympic Block, by Saunders and Houghton, which collapsed in 1972 and was subsequently demolished. Aside from the obvious remodel of the storefront and the loss of the top floor, the elements of the building façade are either intact or have been carefully restored. The building retains the most important architectural features of its original design.

Detail for 104 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800461 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Metal, Stone - Ashlar/cut Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Social Movements & Organizations
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
“The Lippy Building, Historic Preservation Certification, Part 1,” March 1983. Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, State of Washington, Olympia, Washington, Microfiche File.
Morgan, Murray. Skid Road, An Informal Portrait of Seattle, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1995 (first publication 1951).

Photo collection for 104 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800461 / Inv #

Photo taken Apr 21, 2004
App v2.0.1.0