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Summary for Harrison-Thomas St, Minor-Pontius AVE / Parcel ID 2467400335 / Inv #

Historic Name: Cascade Playground Comfort Station Common Name: Cascade Park WPA Bathrooms
Style: Art Deco - PWA Moderne Neighborhood: Cascade
Built By: Year Built: 1938
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The comfort station buildings are architecturally significant because of their overall design and the way in which they create an entry to the park as well as the variety of brick detailing. Historically, the exterior walls of these structures were built and have been described as part of the “retaining wall,” that originally encircled the park site. The remaining portion of the more utilitarian looking concrete retaining wall, constructed at the same time, can be seen on the northwest corner of the site and continuing along Minor Avenue to the west and Harrison Street to the north. Brick (with a concrete plinth, it seems, from historical photos) and concrete walls were constructed by the WPA in 1936-37, as indicated by the plaque on the Northeast corner of the brick structure. The remaining comfort station walls, seen from inside the park, were apparently built somewhat later, in 1938. The comfort station was also suggested by the “Business Manager” of the Seattle Public Schools, in a delicately worded letter, written in August 1934, which describes the increasing use of the various entrances of the Cascade School as toilet facilities. Later on, members of the community asked for bathrooms, drinking fountains and various recreational equipment, including a slide and “teeter totters,” for their children. It is significant that the park and its WPA structures are also the result of community activism and participation, much as community participation still informs much of what goes on in the Cascade neighborhood today. The historical association with both the Seattle School District since the early Twentieth Century and then with the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, is also especially important. (Also, see Entry for 031C).
These site structures in Cascade Park not only contains bathrooms, but serve as an entry gate to the Northeast corner of the park. In fact, the structure consists of two one story brick clad buildings, one with a women’s bathroom and the other with a men’s bathroom. The structures exhibit a variety of brick patterns and detailing on the exterior brick walls. Large rectangular expanses of bricks placed at forty five degree angles liven up the facing walls of each of the structures at the northeast entry of the park. These fill in previous window openings of the historical structures. Near the entry of each bathroom structure is a one wythe thick ornamental garden wall, with openings between offset bricks, creating a kind of brick lattice. Another one wythe thick short wall, perpendicular to this wall, has toward its top and bottom, vertically placed, angled stretcher bricks, set with spaces between them and supported by regularly laid brick courses of running bond. On one of the walls facing the street (northwest), is a plaque indicating that the exterior wall, “retaining wall” structure was built by the Works Progress Administration in 1936-37.

Detail for Harrison-Thomas St, Minor-Pontius AVE / Parcel ID 2467400335 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Site District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Other
Building Type: Landscape - Street Furniture/Object Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Brick No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Politics/Government/Law
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Plaques on the exterior wall of the “retaining wall/comfort station” structure and on the little bridge at the edge of the Wading Pool (WPA, 1936-37 and 1938-39).

Photo collection for Harrison-Thomas St, Minor-Pontius AVE / Parcel ID 2467400335 / Inv #

Photo taken

Photo taken
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