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Summary for 4554 NE 41st ST NE / Parcel ID 7613700005 / Inv # DPR046

Historic Name: Laurelhurst Field House Common Name: Laurelhurst Community Center
Style: Tudor Neighborhood: Laurelhurst
Built By: Year Built: 1935
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
The Civil Works Administration (CWA) and the Washington Emergency Relief Administration (WERA) constructed this architecturally distinctive brick field house in 1933-35 as one of the first permanent improvements to Laurelhurst Playfield. In 1927, the city had acquired the property for the playfield. Nearly two-thirds of the funding came from a Local Improvement District. Within two years, the initial improvements had made to the site, and the new brick Laurelhurst Elementary School had been completed on the block to the north across NE 45th Street. Although the area was first platted in 1906, Laurelhurst was not annexed to the City of Seattle until 1910. Speculative lot purchases delayed residential development until the 1920s, when houses began to rise rapidly. In 1920, the Seattle School District purchased the school property and then moved portable classroom buildings onto the site from a nearby location. By the end of the decade, a larger and more permanent facility was necessary, resulting in the construction of the two-story brick building. The Parks Department purchase of the playfield site directly south of the school followed a policy originally developed by the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm. In 1903, the city had hired the Olmsted Brothers to prepare plans for a comprehensive park and boulevard system, including suggestions for improvements to existing parks. This was supplemented by an additional report in 1908 to include the large areas annexed by the city the previous year. In their recommendations, the Olmsted Brothers advocated for the creation of playgrounds located near schools so teachers could direct the children’s activities. The idea of public recreation facilities in parks had only become popular late in the 19th and early in the 20th centuries, and the Olmsted Brothers were at the forefront of the movement. However, the Olmsted Brothers recommendations did not include those areas located outside the city limits. As a result, no parks were developed in Laurelhurst for many years despite the fact that it was annexed in 1910. After the playfield site was acquired though the efforts of the community, it was cleared and graded by 1929. However, the park remained largely undeveloped until the early 1930s when the Parks Department received the assistance of Depression-era relief agencies. The Civil Works Administration (CWA) began construction of the new Laurelhurst field house in 1934, however the Washington Emergency Relief Administration (WERA) completed the work in 1935 when the CWA was disbanded. Established in November 1933 to provide relief work for unemployed persons through public work projects, the CWA functioned simultaneously with the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) and to some extent with the same personnel. In March 1934, the CWA was liquidated, and its functions and records were transferred to the Emergency Relief Program of FERA. In 1935, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) consolidated and superseded several earlier programs, including the CWA and the FERA. The WERA was a relief agency operated by the Washington State government from 1933-37. In addition to creating work for the unemployed, WERA also provided other public welfare assistance, including aid to the aged, the homeless, and the impoverished. The Parks Department had constructed its first field houses in 1911 at Hiawatha and Ballard Playfields. Within the next several years, similar wood frame field houses were constructed at Collins, and South Park Playfields. In the later 1920s, larger masonry field houses were constructed at Green Lake Park and Rainier Playfield. During the 1930s, two smaller brick field houses were built at Laurelhurst and Montlake Playfields. These buildings were not as large as the earlier field houses but provided more spacious recreational facilities than the smaller shelter houses. Designed with Tudor Revival stylistic features, this attractive brick building was constructed on a circular drive at the southern end of the playfield. Built onto a hillside, the upper level contained offices and a large social room while the lower level housed clubrooms and restroom facilities. With its distinctive Tudor Revival detailing, this building is significant for its design and for its associations with the CWA and the WERA and the development of Laurelhurst Playfield.
Completed in 1935, this brick veneer field house occupies a site along the western side of the circular entrance drive at the southern end of Laurelhurst Playfield. The children’s play area is located to the north, and the tennis courts are located to the west. Set into a hillside, the one-story building has a lower basement level open on the rear west elevation. The building has the irregular plan and massing typical of Tudor Revival architecture. However, its restrained interpretation of the style lacks the fanciful ornamentation and embellishments often found on many buildings of this type. On the side gable main block, the principal east elevation has side gable wings offset at the northeast and southeast corners. The wing at the northeast corner also has a gable front wing extending from the east elevation. The rear west elevation has two full-height side gable wings offset at the northwest and southwest corners. The shorter western and longer eastern roof slopes on these rear wings give them a saltbox form. The wings on the front and rear elevations intersect on the side elevations of the main block clad with wide cedar siding. On the south elevation of the main block, a large brick chimney rises through the middle of the gable end between the wings. Overall, the building measures approximately 84 feet by 48 feet on the longest sides. On the principal east elevation, pairs of ornate scroll brackets support the shed roof, which extends from the main roof and covers the double door center entrance. Framed by paneled wood shutters, two large multi-paned windows flank this center entrance. Additional single entrance doors are located on the north and south inner corners of the wings adjoining the main block. The wing at the southern end of the elevation has two smaller multi-paned windows with shutters on the east elevation and two on the south elevation at the same upper floor level. The narrow west elevation of this wing has another shuttered window at the main floor level above a wide paneled entrance door at the ground floor level. At the northern end of the east elevation, the gable front wing has one multi-paned window with shutters on the south elevation and one centered on the east elevation. On the north elevation, this wing has another shuttered window adjacent to a single entrance door, while the side gable wing has a large vertical window at the center flanked by smaller windows set high on the wall. On the rear west elevation, five large multi-paned windows with paneled wood shutters line the upper floor level. At the lower basement level, three small horizontal windows alternate with two wider horizontal windows, all of which contain multi-paned sash above high brick bulkheads. Originally, these openings extended nearly to the ground and contained windows twice as large. The brick bulkheads display evidence of this alteration. The end wings on this elevation have entrance doors at the ground floor level below small shuttered windows at the upper floor level. The north and south side elevations of the wings each have a similar shuttered window centered below the peak at the upper floor level. The northern wing also has a single entrance door at the eastern end of the north elevation at the ground floor level. Although there have been extensive window alterations, the modern replacements are sympathetic to the original design of the building. Well maintained, this architecturally distinctive structure retains very good physical integrity.

Detail for 4554 NE 41st ST NE / Parcel ID 7613700005 / Inv # DPR046

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Other Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Unknown No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Seattle Department of Parks. Annual report/Department of Parks. Seattle, WA: 1909-1955.
Erigero, Patricia. Seattle Public Schools Historic Building Survey Summary Report. Seattle, WA: Historic Seattle PDA, 1990.

Photo collection for 4554 NE 41st ST NE / Parcel ID 7613700005 / Inv # DPR046

Photo taken Nov 03, 2000

Photo taken Nov 03, 2000

Photo taken Nov 03, 2000
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