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Summary for 216 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800390 / Inv #

Historic Name: Squire Latimer Building Common Name: Grand Central/ Grand Central on the Park
Style: Queen Anne - Richardsonian Romanesque Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1890
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
This building, originally named the Squire Latimer Block, was designed by Comstock and Troetsche in 1889-1890. The southern half of the building was constructed on the site of Watson Squire’s Opera House, which opened in 1879 as Seattle’s first real theater and which was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1889. The building was commissioned by Watson Squire, the former territorial governor and senator and Norval Latimer, an important early Seattle businessman, who was involved with the Dexter Horton Bank. The Squire and Latimer Building’s architects, Nelson Comstock and Carl Troetsche, were known mainly for their work in San Diego, where their practice thrived in the mid 1880s. As a result of an acquaintanceship with Judge Thomas Burke, an important early Seattle figure, they also opened a Seattle office in 1889. They contributed to the rebuilding of Seattle after the Fire of 1889, although their partnership dissolved in 1890. They also designed the J. H. Marshall Block, later known as the J & M Cardroom and Bar, also in the Pioneer Square-Skid Road National Historic District. Prior to its construction, the building was hailed in 1889 in the Seattle Post Intelligencer for the high quality of its design: “ The structure will stand four stories high above the basement and cover an area 60 x 111 feet in dimensions, and when completed will be one of the largest and handsomest blocks in the city. The front and sides will be beautiful and attractive with walls of pressed brick trimmed with stone and iron, and handsomely surmounted by an imposing and elaborate cornice. The exterior appearance of the structure will be beautiful in design and a gem in architectural appearance…” During the Klondike Gold Rush, the building housed the Grand Central Hotel, hence its present name, which officially is “Grand Central on the Park.” This building was also one of the earliest and famous examples of rehabilitation in the district in 1971-1972 by Richard White, Alan Black and architect Ralph Anderson.
Rectangular in plan and four stories in height, “Grand Central on the Park,” previously known as the Squire-Latimer Block, is mainly clad in rusticated and smooth stone, which has been painted. On the west elevation, it has cast-iron and wood storefront frames at ground level and brick clad walls on the upper levels. The west elevation is divided into eight bays. A typical vertical bay consists of a ground level storefront with piers made of semi-rough hewn stone blocks surmounted by a stone capital with acanthus leaves. A brick spandrel typically separates the storefront’s cast-iron lintel from a belt-course. The stone piers are continued by a thickened portion of the wall at the upper levels. At the second level, a continuous belt-course also becomes a continuous sill between individual trabeated windows which have stained glass clerestories. Above these windows is a stone lintel which runs the length of each bay between thickened sections of wall. At the third level, there are corresponding windows with segmental arches. These are surmounted by a large curved piece of stone trim with rusticated stone filling in the spandrels between the segmental arches and the stone trim. A typical fourth floor bay consists of three arched windows topped by stone trim which follows the three curves of the arch, creating a shape of three intersecting circular sections. A distinctive element of the western elevation is the projecting entrance bay and its portal (leading to upper floors), which is not symmetrically placed and occurs in the third bay from the south. The actual portal has a wide deep semi-circular arch with a spandrel of rusticated stone block and supported by four short columns, engaged in the thickened stone wall. Above these columns and continuing to the edge of the bay is a continuous frieze of enlarged running floral motifs, which also include on each side of the portal, a stylized lion motif (lion about to bite its own tail?). At the ground level, the next bay north stands out because of an iron gate that was added during the restoration of the building. A similar, facing gate occurs on the east wall facing Occidental Park. The south elevation is mainly clad in brick. It has five bays with a central bay that is wider than the rest. Above the second floor, the typical bay pattern of the west elevation is followed; however, the central bay has five individual windows running horizontally instead of three. At the third level,a large three lite window with a large, flatter segmental arch is flanked by two single openings with segmental arches. The east elevation facing Occidental Park has no differentiated bay; but there is a fairly consistent pattern of single openings with segmental arches. The wall here is mostly covered by ivy, so no other distinctive details are obvious.

Detail for 216 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800390 / 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 - Professional Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
Bagley, Clarence. History of King County. Chicago-Seattle: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1929.
“The Wings of the Phoenix, Two New Brick Blocks on Commercial Street,” Post Intelligencer, 25 July, 1889, p 4.
Rhodes, Marjorie. Biography Notes on Pioneers of Puget Sound. Seattle: Marjorie Rhodes, 1992.
Link, Karin, “The Rise of the Urban Center,” in Andrews et al. Pioneer Square: Seattle’s Oldest Neighborhood. Manuscript. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, forthcoming 2005.

Photo collection for 216 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800390 / Inv #

Photo taken Nov 27, 2004

Photo taken Nov 02, 2004
App v2.0.1.0