Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for Building 759 / Parcel ID 1525039012 / Inv #

Historic Name: Guard House Common Name:
Style: Colonial - Colonial Revival Neighborhood: Magnolia
Built By: Year Built: 1902
Fort Lawton is located in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood, within the area that is now Discovery Park. Established as a U.S. Army post in 1898, the fort had been envisioned by local residents and businessmen as a major regimental post, with the hope that it would enhance the local economy and the city’s status in its ongoing competition with Tacoma to the south. Upon selection of the site, local landowners donated more than 700 acres for the fort. By 1900, construction of the first seven permanent, wood-frame buildings on the site was completed. While local aspirations for the fort were slow to be realized, initial construction continued through 1910, at which time there was an assembly of 25 buildings set around an oval-shaped parade ground. While Fort Lawton never became as large or influential as Seattle residents had anticipated, during World War II it was the second-largest port of embarkation on the West Coast. After the 1940s, the use of the fort declined again and many of the temporary and wartime buildings were removed. The Army stayed on until 1972, at which time it transferred ownership of a portion of Fort Lawton to the City of Seattle. A large portion of the post, including its historic core area, with 25 buildings and parade ground, was surplused by the Army and added to Discovery Park in the mid-1970s. The Fort Lawton Historic District was nominated to and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The City of Seattle designated Fort Lawton as a local historic district in 1988. The Fort Lawton Historic District is associated with the development and the history of the City of Seattle; and embodies the characteristics of military interpretations of American architectural styles of the 1890s and early 1900s, based on standard Quartermaster General building designs, as well as its planned site. The period of significance for the Fort Lawton Historic District extends from its inception in 1898 to 1945, based on the development of the post, with additional buildings and site features resulting from the Depression-era public works, and the fort's role in WWII. Building 759 is Fort Lawton's Guard House, constructed in 1902. It is the only non-residential building at Fort Lawton that was always used for its original purpose.
Building 759 – Guard House (Completed April 24, 1902) Located toward the north end of the parade ground, this building is situated at the intersection of Oregon and Idaho Avenues, its primary façade facing southeast. The one-story, hip-roofed structure is nearly square, measuring 49' by 47'. It sits on a sandstone and brick foundation and has a partial basement. The front "yard" consists of a brick-paved pad. The building is clad with painted, lapped cedar siding, and the roof, originally slate-shingled, is composition-shingled. A corbelled brick chimney rises from the center of the roof. A front gable with Palladian window and wood-shingled gable end lends some formality to the building. A full-width front porch has a nearly flat roof supported by thin, chamfered posts with pipe railings. The porch has three sets of steps – one set at each end and one set centered on the front. Trim includes corner boards, a frieze band, and trim around door and window openings. Fenestration consists of six-over-six-light, double-hung wood sash windows. The original color scheme for the post building exteriors appears to have been a barn red with red-brown trim, which is shown on several hand-colored post card images. However, as photos dating from 1907 and later indicate, a consistent, two-tone lighter color palette soon replaced it as the customary combination. According to the 1981 HABS report, on the interior are two steel cages and three solitary cells in a confinement room. Interior finishes include embossed metal ceilings and walls (in confinement room). The basement has brick piers and walls. This building is vacant and has been mothballed since the late 1980s/early 1990s. Plexiglass has been attached over the windows on all façades, except the gable-end Palladian window that has been infilled with a wood panel finished to resemble the original sash.

Detail for Building 759 / Parcel ID 1525039012 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Brick, Stone
Roof Type(s): Hip Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition-Shingle
Building Type: Defense - Military facility Plan: Square
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Military
Major Bibliographic References
Lentz, Florence, et al. "Historic American Buildings Survey, Fort Lawton." U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Pacific Northwest Region, 1981.
Kavanaugh, Major Robert E. "Fort Lawton." National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, January 1978.
Mann, Millegan, Morse and Ramsey. "Fort Lawton Buildings: A Survey and Report, Prepared for City of Seattle Parks and Recreation." August 15, 1975.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District. "Context Study of the United States Quartermaster General Standardized Plans 1866-1942." Report prepared for U.S. Army Environmental Ctr, Envir. Compliance Division, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Nov. 1997.

Photo collection for Building 759 / Parcel ID 1525039012 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 15, 2007

Photo taken Jan 18, 2007
App v2.0.1.0