Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for 8061 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 0625049072 / Inv # DPR070

Historic Name: North Shops, Seattle Water Department Common Name: North Park Shops Service Building
Style: Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Green Lake
Built By: Year Built: 1932
The Seattle Water Department constructed this large brick open storage shed about 1932 as part of its North Shops complex, its first permanent shops and warehouse in the north end of the city. Since 1910, the Water Department’s main warehouse, shops and supply yard had been located south of downtown Seattle on Airport Way South and South Lander Street. Initially, the Water Department had shared the facility with City Light until 1924 when the electric utility moved its operations to their new complex at Fourth Avenue South and South Spokane Street. The same year, the Water Department’s old wood frame building was destroyed by fire. A new reinforced concrete structure was immediately built, and another building was added in 1929. In the north end, the Water Department had occupied a number of facilities in Ballard and Fremont, sharing some with other departments as well. In December 1927, the majority of the property for this site was acquired from three different owners, and plans were prepared for a new shop and pipe yard for the north end of the city. Located a few blocks south of the then northern limits of the city at 85th Street, the large tract covered a full block frontage of 267 feet on North 82nd Street and extended 294 feet south between Ashworth Avenue North on the west and Densmore Avenue North on the east. About 1932, this brick structure was constructed on a strip of land along the south end of the property, which had been purchased the previous year. Several years earlier, the main shop and store building as well as a smaller structure had been completed in 1929 to house equipment and supplies needed for the north end. That same year, the size of the property also increased with the purchase of an adjoining strip of land 66 feet wide and 158 feet deep, which fronted onto Ashworth Avenue North. An existing house on the parcel, which is no longer extant, was used as a residence by the north district foreman. Two years later, an even frontage on both side streets was created with the purchase of the other 110 feet of the 66-foot wide strip of land, which faced onto Densmore Avenue North. Subsequent to the acquisition of this second parcel, the large brick open storage shed was constructed on the newly purchased property. By the late 1940s, the City’s population center had shifted to the north, especially after extensive annexations north to 145th Street between 1950 and 1954. The Water Department already provided 60% of this newly annexed area with direct service to the retail customers, however additional water storage and distribution facilities were required. In response to this rapid growth in the north end, the Water Depart constructed a larger open storage shed at the North Shops in 1950. By the mid-1950s, the North Shops’ service area covered the territory north of the Lake Washington Ship Canal up to the King-Snohomish County line. Later, the Department of Parks and Recreation acquired the property for its own use. This Industrial Vernacular building is significant for its association with the growth and development of the Seattle water system.
Completed about 1932, this large one-story brick building occupies a site along the southern edge of a large parcel of land bounded by Ashworth and Densmore Avenues North to the south of North 82nd Street. The side gable building faces north and has a rectangular plan. Steel I-beams support the roof and rest on the brick end walls. On the principal north elevation, concrete pillars support the roof and divide the façade into eight bays. Chain link fencing encloses the three eastern bays, creating a secured storage area. The center four bays are open, but the western end bay has been bricked in as a separate room with entrance doors. The east elevation has two window openings, which remain intact and contain the original multi-paned sash. On the west elevation, the same openings have been filled with brick. The rear south elevation presents a blank brick wall with a series of brick piers set on projecting concrete bases delineating the building’s eight structural bays. This modest utilitarian building displays good physical integrity despite the window and plan alterations.

Detail for 8061 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 0625049072 / Inv # DPR070

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Metal - Corrugated
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Unknown No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Conservation, Politics/Government/Law, Transportation
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
McWilliams, Mary. Seattle Water Department History, 1854-1954: Operational Data and Memoranda. Seattle, WA: Water Department, City of Seattle, c1955.
Seattle Water Department. Annual report / City of Seattle, Water Department. Seattle, WA: 1908-1965.

Photo collection for 8061 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 0625049072 / Inv # DPR070

Photo taken Nov 02, 2000
App v2.0.1.0