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Summary for 300 Occidental WAY / Parcel ID 5247800695 / Inv #

Historic Name: State Building Common Name: State Building/ (part of ) Burke-State Buiding
Style: Commercial, Queen Anne - Richardsonian Romanesque Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1891
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The State Building was designed by Elmer Fisher in 1890-91 for the Schwabacher Brothers, owners of what later became known as the Schwabacher Company. Based on its historic and recent condition, it appears to be virtually intact and still retains its cornice. The building was commissioned in June of 1890 and completed in September of 1891. It was built to house the Schwabacher Brothers’ wholesale dry goods business, which needed more space than what the Schwabacher Building (at First S. and Yesler) alone could provide. After the fire of 1892 which destroyed the original First Avenue facade of Schwabacher Building located near the southeast corner of First Avenue South and Yesler Way, the State Building served as the main headquarters of the Schwababacher Company for a time. Jeffrey Ochsner and Dennis Andersen suggest that the design of the building was influenced by an illustration of Adler and Sullivan’s Ryerson Wholesale Store in Chicago, which Elmer Fisher might have seen in the April 1889 issue of Inland Architect. Because the building was designed as a warehouse, the interior structure was built to carry hefty loads, supposedly 500 pounds per square foot. Its original interior had cast-iron columns, steel beams in addition to timber floor joists. The Schwabacher Company, a thriving early Seattle hardware and general mercantile store, began doing business in the Pioneer Square area in 1869 and built not only the Schwabacher Building near First Avenue and Yesler Way and the State Building, but also the Schwabacher Hardware Company Building by Bebb and Mendel, located on the corner of First Avenue South and Jackson Street. They also owned the Schwabacher Dock, the only dock on the waterfront to survive the Fire of 1889. The Schwabacher Company did particularly well during the Klondike Gold Rush and continued to thrive well into the twentieth century. Elmer Fisher produced an incredible number of buildings, especially between 1889 and 1891 and is considered the most prolific of the post-fire architects; but his account of his birth in Scotland in 1840, arrival in Massachusetts at age 17 and architectural apprenticeship in Worcester, Massachusetts now appears to be untrue or at least completely uncorroborated. It is known that he came to the Pacific Northwest in 1886 and designed buildings in Vancouver, Victoria and Port Townsend, before coming to Seattle in 1889. Despite the number of buildings he designed in the former “burnt district,” his most well-known work in Seattle is the Pioneer Building. By 1891, despite the accolades the Pioneer Building received in 1892, he had abandoned his career as an architect to run the Abbott Hotel in Seattle, which he had also designed and built.
Designed by Elmer Fisher in 1890-91, the building’s street elevations face what is now Occidental Mall and Main Street. Both elevations are four stories in height and above the storefront levels, appear identical in design. In each case, two wider bays flank a narrower bay, which features a major entry to the building. At the ground floor, the street facing elevations have ornamented cast-iron storefronts, with overhead trim in smooth and rusticated stone. Typical of the cast-iron portion of the storefront are high bases which support a series of short engaged columns, set at the level of the storefront clerestory. Above a stone belt-course, each bay consists of tall inset arches in pairs that run the height of the second and third floors. Textured brick spandrels separate the rectangular windows of the second floor from the arched windows on the third floor. Each fourth floor bay has two double sets of single trabeated window openings, with standard double-hung windows. Lintels and sills are of rusticated stone. The central bays of the north and west facades have parapet walls that rise well above the parapet of the rest of the building. Above the entry level, the central bay is subdivided horizontally by a trio of three narrow window openings on each floor. The narrow window openings at the top level are arched. While a continuous lintel connects each set of four windows in the standard flanking bays, in the central entry bays, a wider piece of stone with the words “STATE BUILDING” is set at a level slightly higher that these stone lintels. A penthouse, mostly not visible from the street, has been added recently to the building. It does not detract from the overall appearance of the original design.

Detail for 300 Occidental WAY / Parcel ID 5247800695 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Metal, Stone - Ashlar/cut 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: four
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Slight
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Luxton, Donald, editor,, Building the West: the Early Architects of British Columbia. Vancouver B.C.: Talonbooks, 2003, 244-5.
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Ochsner, Jeffrey and Dennis Andersen. Distant Corner: Seattle Architects and The Legacy of H. H. Richardson. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2004.
Micklin, Lee. “Gatzert, Bailey (1829-1893).” HistoryLink,14 October 1998. Database on-line. Available from http:// www.
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 300 Occidental WAY / Parcel ID 5247800695 / Inv #

Photo taken Jun 08, 2004

Photo taken Jun 08, 2004
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