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Summary for 3205 13th AVE / Parcel ID 2770604505 / Inv # SFD010

Historic Name: Fire Station No. 20 Common Name:
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1949
Completed in 1949, this modern brick veneer fire station was one of the first to be built in Seattle after a fifteen-year construction hiatus. The combination of financial difficulties due to the economic depression of the 1930s and shortages of labor and materials brought on by the Second World War halted construction of any new fire stations during this period. By the later 1940s, many of the department’s older wood frame fire stations were very much in need of replacement. The original Fire Station No. 20 had been built in 1908 at the northwest corner of 14th Avenue West and West Wheeler Street. This two-story wood frame building was the last of nine fire stations that were built between 1894 and 1908 using a similar design. Located on the northwest slope of Queen Anne Hill, this fire station served a wide area south of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, including the Queen Anne, Interbay and Magnolia neighborhoods. Until Fire Station No. 41 was constructed in Magnolia in 1934, this fire station served the entire area largely on its own. When the fire department decided to replace the old wood frame station, they chose a site located some four long blocks to the north near the intersection of 14th Avenue West and West Dravus Street. Architect Fred B. Stephen prepared a Modern design for the new building, one of the first to be built in this mode. Frederick Bennett Stephen was the son of the prominent Seattle Architect James Stephen, best known for his work as the primary architect for the Seattle School District from 1899 to 1909. In 1908, Fred Stephen entered into partnership with his father after earning an architectural degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Stephen & Stephen designed school buildings throughout Washington as well as numerous commercial and residential buildings. In 1917, William G. Brust, a former classmate of Fred Stephen, joined the partnership, which continued for another ten years. After James Stephen retired in 1928, his son pursued an independent practice. During the 1950s, Fred Stephen designed all six of the new fire stations built in Seattle. In 1986, Fire Station No. 20 was closed for extensive renovations, which substantially altered the appearance of the building. Despite these alterations, this fire station is significant for its design and for its associations with the development of the Seattle Fire Department and the neighborhoods around the Interbay area.
Completed in 1949, this one-story gable and flat roof structure occupies a narrow lot just north of the intersection of 13th Avenue West and West Dravus Street. Featuring a roman brick exterior, this building’s appearance is similar to the other fire stations built during the late 1940s and 1950s from designs by Architect Fred B. Stephen. However, extensive renovations closed the fire station between 1986 and 1987 and resulted in substantial alterations to the building’s original appearance. The foremost of these were the addition of a more steeply pitched gable roof and a new apparatus door in the engine bay. The building is comprised of three sections, creating an L-plan footprint, which measures approximately 42 feet by 58 feet. This includes a small wing, which extends from the southern end of the rear west elevation and measures 27 feet by 12 feet. The taller engine bay occupies the northeast corner of the building. A one-story office adjoins the engine bay on the south. The remaining one-story L-shaped portion, which wraps around the southwest corner, contains crew quarters with a basement level accessible by an entrance on the lower west elevation. The wider engine bay dominates the principal east elevation and now contains a single large overhead entrance door framed by square metal columns. These columns support the window filled gable end of the newer roof, which rests on a metal clad base on top of the original building walls. The fire station’s number "20" is set in a large metal circle centered in the gable end. Originally, this bay featured a pair of overhead doors separated by a brick clad pier in a large recessed opening. On the narrower southern end of the elevation, a metal trellis added as part of the renovation screens the original entrance bay. The bay contains a large opening at the center with multi-paned windows and an entrance door on the south side. On the north elevation, three large vertical openings light the engine bay with multi-paned windows. On the south and west elevations of the office and crew quarters, windows line the upper and lower floor levels. Covered by a flat roof, the entrance door to the lower level is located in the north wall of the of the rear wing. Although well maintained, this building retains less physical integrity after the renovations of the 1980s.

Detail for 3205 13th AVE / Parcel ID 2770604505 / Inv # SFD010

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

Photo collection for 3205 13th AVE / Parcel ID 2770604505 / Inv # SFD010

Photo taken Nov 12, 2000
App v2.0.1.0