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Summary for 4408 70th ST / Parcel ID 7974200350 / Inv # DPR093

Historic Name: View Ridge Playfield Shelter House Common Name:
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Ravenna
Built By: Year Built: 1953
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.
This architecturally distinctive brick shelter house was constructed in 1953 as one of the first permanent improvements to View Ridge Playfield. The city purchased the property for the playfield in 1949 with most of the funding provided by a Local Improvement District. Three years earlier, the Hawthorne Hills Community Club had initiated the action to acquire the site for a playfield for the rapidly developing residential neighborhood. View Ridge had first been platted in the mid-1930s by real estate developers Albert S. Balch and Ralph Jones. The financial difficulties of the 1930s and the shortages of labor and materials during the Second World War slowed the pace of development initially. Access to the area was also somewhat difficult due to poor roads. However, the area boomed in the post-war years along with other north end neighborhoods, especially after annexation by the City of Seattle in 1945. Since 1891, the city’s northern limits had been set at 85th Street between 8th Avenue NW and 15th Avenue NE, then considered a great distance from the center of town in Pioneer Square. Twenty years later, the city had annexed Ballard on the west and portions of Ravenna and Laurelhurst on the east. Over the next thirty years, the city’s population shifted further to the north and to the northeast, pushing into the unincorporated areas. From the early 1940s to the early 1950s, the City of Seattle annexed extensive areas north and northeast of the existing city limits, including the View Ridge neighborhood. In 1944, the Seattle School District established View Ridge Elementary School in several portable buildings on a long narrow mid-block site between 45th and 50th Avenues NE. Four years later, a larger permanent building was constructed on the site. This may have influenced the choice of the playfield site, which was located across the street to the west of the school grounds. After acquiring the site, the Parks Department cleared, graded and improved the site and completed a brick shelter house near the southern end in 1953. Community donations provided the funding for the purchase of playground equipment in 1955. Beginning in the later 1920s, the Parks Department began to construct brick shelter houses at many of the city’s playgrounds and playfields. These buildings housed large rooms for organized recreation activities in addition to public restroom facilities. Office space for recreation instructors was also provided. The Parks Department continued to construct new shelter houses into the later 1930s due to the availability of labor and funding from state and federal relief programs, such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA). However, shortages of labor and materials brought on by the Second World War halted construction of any new park buildings for most of the 1940s. Construction of new shelter houses commenced in the late 1940s and continued into the 1960s. However, the materials eventually changed from brick to the less expensive and more durable concrete block. The modern design of the 1950s and 1960s shelter houses contrasted with the earlier buildings, which generally exhibited Craftsman or period revival stylistic features. With its Northwest Style design features, this is one of the more architecturally distinctive shelter houses of the post-war era. This building is significant for its design and for its association with the development of View Ridge Playfield.
Completed in 1953, this brick shelter house occupies a midpoint site at the southern end of View Ridge Playfield along NE 70th Street. The one-story building has a mostly rectangular but irregular plan covered by a front gable roof with deep overhangs on the shorter north and south elevations and slight overhangs on the longer east and west elevations. The Modern building faces north towards the ballfields and contains a large recreation room in the northern half and restrooms in the southern half. The gable roof curves upward towards each end from a low saddle over the rear of each section and flares at the corners. On the principal north elevation, projecting brick piers frame a large opening, which contains an overhead metal door into the recreation room. A heavy beam over the opening rests on the brick piers and supports the overhanging roof trusses centered above the two piers. The center roof truss rests on a post within the gable end covered by wooden louvers. Multi-paned windows above wood bulkheads wrap the northeast and northwest corners of the building beyond the brick piers. Metal grates now cover these windows. The west elevation of the recreation room presents a blank wall, while the east elevation has a recessed opening at the southern end. This opening contains a wide wood door with a louvered transom adjacent to a multi-paned sidelight covered with a metal grate. The entrances to the restrooms are situated on the rear walls of the recessed southeast and southwest corners. Narrow horizontal windows covered with metal grates line the longer inner walls of the corners below the roofline. The original wood doors to the restrooms remain extant beneath paneled wood transoms. The south elevation presents a blank brick wall below a large opening in the gable end containing a pair of wooden louvers on either side of a solid center panel. On the east and west elevations, the walls of the restroom flare outward from the parallel side walls of the recreation room. A large brick chimney straddles the ridge of the gable roof at the rear of the recreation room where a fireplace is located. A concrete path surrounds the building enhanced by attractive landscaping and well maintained plantings. East of the building, a large circular planter with a low wall of the same mottled brick contains a mature tree. This architecturally distinctive building retains excellent physical integrity.

Detail for 4408 70th ST / Parcel ID 7974200350 / Inv # DPR093

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Metal - Standing Seam
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 Windows: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Erigero, Patricia. Seattle Public Schools Historic Building Survey Summary Report. Seattle, WA: Historic Seattle PDA, 1990.

Photo collection for 4408 70th ST / Parcel ID 7974200350 / Inv # DPR093

Photo taken Aug 15, 2000

Photo taken Aug 15, 2000

Photo taken Aug 15, 2000
App v2.0.1.0