Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for 8061 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 0625049072 / Inv # DPR069

Historic Name: North Shops, Seattle Water Department Common Name: North Park Shops Open Parking Stalls
Style: Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Green Lake
Built By: Year Built: 1950
The Seattle Water Department constructed this large open storage shed in 1950 as part of its North Shops complex, its first permanent shops and warehouse in the north end of the city. Since 1910 the Water Department’s main warehouse, shops and supply yard had been located south of downtown Seattle on Airport Way South and South Lander Street. Initially, the Water Department had shared the facility with City Light until 1924 when the electric utility moved its operations to their new complex at Fourth Avenue South and South Spokane Street. The same year, the Water Department’s old wood frame building was destroyed by fire. A new reinforced concrete structure was immediately built, and another building was added in 1929. In the north end, the Water Department had occupied a number of facilities in Ballard and Fremont, sharing some with other departments as well. In December 1927, the majority of the property for this site was acquired from three different owners, and plans were prepared for a new shop and pipe yard for the north end of the city. Located a few blocks south of the then northern limits of the city at 85th Street, the large tract covered a full block frontage of 267 feet on North 82nd Street and extended 294 feet south between Ashworth Avenue North on the west and Densmore Avenue North on the east. In 1929, the main shop and store building and a smaller structure were built in the first phase of construction. That same year, the size of the property also increased with the purchase of an adjoining strip of land 66 feet wide and 158 feet deep, which fronted onto Ashworth Avenue North. An existing house on the parcel, which is no longer extant, was used as a residence by the north district foreman. Two years later, an even frontage on both side streets was created with the purchase of the other 110 feet of the 66-foot wide strip of land, which faced onto Densmore Avenue North. Subsequent to the acquisition of this second parcel, the large brick open storage shed was constructed on the newly purchased property. By the late 1940s, the City’s population center had shifted to the north, especially after extensive annexations north to 145th Street between 1950 and 1954. The Water Department already provided 60% of this newly annexed area with direct service to the retail customers, however additional water storage and distribution facilities were required. In response to this rapid growth in the north end, the Water Depart constructed this larger open storage shed at the North Shops in 1950. By the mid-1950s, the North Shops’ service area covered the territory north of the Lake Washington Ship Canal up to the King-Snohomish County line. Later, the Department of Parks and Recreation acquired the property for its own use. This Industrial Vernacular building is significant for its association with the growth and development of the Seattle water system.
Completed in 1950, this large one-story brick building occupies a site along the eastern edge of a large parcel of land bounded by Ashworth and Densmore Avenues North to the south of North 82nd Street. The side gable building faces west and has a rectangular plan, which measures 142 feet by 35 feet. On the principal west elevation, concrete pillars support the roof and divide the façade into seven open bays. Chain link fencing encloses some of the bays, originally covered by overhead doors. The north and south elevations present blank brick walls. The rear east elevation, which faces onto Densmore Avenue North, has long narrow window openings lining the upper wall below the slightly overhanging roof. Glass blocks fill the openings covered by wire mesh screens. This modest utilitarian building displays good physical integrity.

Detail for 8061 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 0625049072 / Inv # DPR069

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Metal - Corrugated
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Unknown No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Conservation, Politics/Government/Law, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
McWilliams, Mary. Seattle Water Department History, 1854-1954: Operational Data and Memoranda. Seattle, WA: Water Department, City of Seattle, c1955.
Seattle Water Department. Annual report / City of Seattle, Water Department. Seattle, WA: 1908-1965.

Photo collection for 8061 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 0625049072 / Inv # DPR069

Photo taken Nov 02, 2000
App v2.0.1.0