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Summary for 616 1st AVE / Parcel ID 093000125 / Inv #

Historic Name: Lowman and Hanford Building Common Name: Lowman and Hanford Building
Style: Commercial, Italian - Italian Renaissance Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1892
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
This is a seven story building clad in orange-beige pressed brick. The building was originally designed as a four story building and completed at the end of 1892. The building is supposed to have undergone remodels, according to the King County Tax Assessor Records in 1893, as well as 1897. The upper three floors were apparently completed in 1902. The only street facing elevation is on First Avenue on Pioneer Place. The main façade has a storefront on the first level surmounted by a rectangular sign with the name “Lowman and Hanford.” Above this is a horizontal row of four rectangular window openings. A projecting cast-stone molding runs the length of the façade. This is surmounted by a four double-story bays, topped by semi-circular arches. Bays are also defined by flat piers with ornamental capitals and raised semi-circular corbel bands. Above this, begins the later vertical addition. On the fifth level is a row of four regular trabeated window openings, topped by a second belt-course in lighter colored cast stone. The configuration of the top floors repeats that of the two-story arched bays at the third and fourth levels, although the double-hung windows at the sixth level appear to be longer. Slightly recessed circular medallions encircled by circular corbel bands are set above and between the arches and thin raised arched bands. Moving up the façade, another belt-course occurs. The parapet wall curves up at the edges of the façade and is capped by bands of lighter cast stone.
The Lowman and Hanford Building was designed by Emil DeNeuf. Construction of the first four floors of Lowman and Hanford Stationery and Printing Company was completed by late 1892. King County Tax Assessor Records also claim that the building was also remodeled in 1893 and 1897. The top three floors were added in 1902. The use of light colored brick - beige brick with an orange cast - and the relative clarity of the façade design, are typical of DeNeuf’s work in the 1890s, as is the eclectic combination of the Commercial Style with shades of the Italian Renaissance. There are similarities with the façade for the fire damaged Schwabacher Building across Pioneer Place near Yesler Way, which DeNeuf created for the original building designed by his previous employer, Elmer Fisher. Emil DeNeuf arrived in Seattle in 1889 and began his career as a draftsman in the office of Elmer Fisher, considered the most prolific architect in the “burnt district” of Seattle right after the Fire of 1889. DeNeuf had an independent practice by the end of 1891. He was retained by Henry Yesler to complete the Mutual Life Building, originally the “Yesler Building,” which Fisher had begun. His partnership with Augustus Heide, with whom he designed the Lowman Building (ca.1906), lasted from 1901 to 1906. DeNeuf also practiced architecture in Guatemala from 1894 to 1900 and was Mayor of West Seattle from 1900 to 1905. Sometime around 1906, DeNeuf moved to San Francisco, where he practiced architecture and designed several notable Mission Style Revival public buildings. He died in 1915. James Lowman and Clarence Hanford, who commissioned and owned this building, were both civic and business leaders in early Seattle, with important ties to Seattle’s earliest Pioneer settlers. The Lowman and Hanford Stationery and Printing Company had operated in the Pioneer Square area since 1885. The Great Fire of 1889 destroyed all buildings (save perhaps one), in the “burnt district,” as Pioneer Square was known after the fire. The Lowman and Hanford Stationery and Printing Company returned to the former “burnt district,” after the fire and built this building.The firm advertised itself as booksellers, stationers, printers and binders and blank bookmakers; but also showed great versatility and sold typewriters, sewing machines, pianos and organs James D. Lowman, born in 1856, came to Seattle in 1877 at the invitation of Henry Yesler, who was his uncle. Henry Yesler was one of Seattle’s founding settlers, and an influential early Seattle entrepreneur, guiding force and owner of prime real estate” in the area around the Public Square, (now Pioneer Place), and north of Mill Street, currently known as Yesler Way. Yesler commissioned several well-known buildings in Pioneer Square and employed first Elmer Fisher and then Emil DeNeuf as architects. In 1877, James Lowman worked as assistant wharf manager for Henry Yesler for four years. In 1886, Lowman became a trustee of Yesler’s estate, which included businesses all over Washington State. As a result, Lowman was involved in the completion of the Pioneer Building and of the Mutual Life Building (then called the Yesler Building), both commissioned by Henry Yesler before his death in 1892. Lowman also ran the thriving Yesler Coal, Wood and Lumber Company. (For additional information on James Lowman, see the Context Statement and the entry for the Lowman Building, Field No. 53). Clarence Hanford was born in Seattle in 1857 and was the son of early pioneer settlers. After attending the Territorial University of Washington, he learned the printing trade in the offices of the Seattle Intelligencer, which was published by Thaddeus Hanford, his elder brother. In 1880, he established a job printing business. By 1885, the Lowman and Hanford Stationery and Printing Company was created. Lowman was president and Clarence Hanford vice-president. Lowman was also principal stockholder, while Clarence Hanford, whose original business was absorbed by the new company, became manager of the printing and bookmaking department.

Detail for 616 1st AVE / Parcel ID 093000125 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition, Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: seven
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Communications
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
Bagley, Clarence B. History of Seattle. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1916.
The Conservation Company, “ Lowman-Hanford Building, 612-616 First Avenue, Historic Preservation Certification, Part 1,” April, 1982.
“The Lowman Building, 107 Cherry Street, Historic Preservation Certification Application, Part 1,” 5 February 2004. OAHP, State of Washington, Olympia, Washington, Microfiche File.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.

Photo collection for 616 1st AVE / Parcel ID 093000125 / Inv #

Photo taken Dec 08, 2004
App v2.0.1.0