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Summary for 423 2nd Ave Extension / Parcel ID 5247800595 / Inv #

Historic Name: H. K. Owens Building/ Metropole Building Common Name: Metropole Building
Style: Queen Anne - Richardsonian Romanesque Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1893
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The Metropole, previously known as the H.K. Owens Building, was owned by Henry Yesler, who had also commissioned the more well-known Pioneer Building down the street. It is thought to have been built between 1892 and 1893. While Emil De Neuf was the architect, Jeffrey Ochsner and Dennis Andersen suggest that the design architect may have been Elmer Fisher. It has one the better designed and well proportioned exteriors from the early period of the “burnt district”’s reconstruction. The building is a simple, but pleasing rendition of the commercial Richardsonian Romanesque style. The building itself was the original location of the G. O. Guy Pharmacy, that later produced a chain of Seattle pharmacies. This G. O. Guy Pharmacy, until not long ago located on the northern portion of the building, is also famous as the site of the 1901 gun battle between Chief of Police William Meredith and John Considine. Considine was the owner of the People’s Theater, known as a “box house,” which provided both “theatrical” entertainment such as magic acts, singing, dancing, minstrel shows, as well as sexual services. In 1901, the Seattle City Council was waging a war against “vice.” As a result of this conflict, Chief of Police Meredith, carrying a sawed off shotgun, pursued John Considine and his brother Tom into the G. O. Guy Pharmacy. Meredith fired at John Considine, eventually grazing him slightly and nearly hitting G. O. Guy, the owner. In self-defense, John Considine clubbed Meredith with the shotgun, which he had managed to wrestle away from him and then shot him. Although the anti-vice forces wanted John Considine hanged for Meredith’s death, at the end of a dramatic trial, he was acquitted.
The Metropole Building at 423 2nd Avenue Extension South is trapezoidal in plan. It is a three story building with parapet. It has two street facing facades, both clad in rusticated sandstone. The longer elevation faces Second Avenue South and a much shorter one Yesler Way. The Second Avenue elevation is distinguished by its regular and symmetrical composition and is divided into five bays. It has a main portal with a semi-circular arch located at the center of the façade, flanked by long trabeated storefronts with clerestory levels. Emphasizing the entry portal on the second floor are a pair of rectangular window openings. First floor portal and second floor central windows are further accentuated by a frame created by smooth stone bands. In general, openings on the second level are rectangular and organized in pairs. On the third level, two small rectangular windows continue the vertical bay about the central portal. To each side of these smaller windows are three pairs of arched windows. Interest is created by changes in texture and pattern in the rusticated stone: for instance, the belt course above the first level, the detailing of the flat arches over the second floor windows, the voussoirs of the arched second floor window openings and the decorative stone bands that mimic the curves of these openings. The Yesler Way elevation is only one bay and has two rectangular flat arched window openings, surmounted by two arched ones. There is also an entryway to a business at the ground level.

Detail for 423 2nd Ave Extension / Parcel ID 5247800595 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Stone - Ashlar/cut Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition, Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Storefront: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
Ochsner, Jeffrey and Dennis Andersen. Distant Corner: Seattle Architects and The Legacy of H. H. Richardson. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2004.
Andrews, Mildred et al. Pioneer Square: Seattle's Oldest Neighborhood. Manuscript. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, forthcoming 2005.
Morgan, Murray. Skid Road, An Informal Portrait of Seattle, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1995 (first publication 1951).
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Lange, Greg and Tim O’Brian. “Virtual Pioneer Square,” unpublished manuscript, 27 October 1996. City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods, Historic Preservation Program files.

Photo collection for 423 2nd Ave Extension / Parcel ID 5247800595 / Inv #

Photo taken Nov 02, 2004
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