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Summary for 202 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800380 / Inv #

Historic Name: Brunswick Balke Collender Company/ Buttnick Building Common Name: Buttnick Building
Style: Commercial, Other - Utilitarian Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1909
Now known as the Buttnick Building, this building was constructed in 1909 for the Brunswick Balke Collender Company, who manufactured billiards equipment. The building replaced two smaller structures (the more southern of the two was Commercial House, then renamed Kenyon House), which apparently housed a less than respectable hotel and a rowdy saloon. In comparison, the new business was seen as respectable. The building dates from a time of explosive growth, mainly due to the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the Great Northern Railroad. As a result, the former “burnt district” thrived and a second wave of building activity took place. In the same year, not far from here, the Pioneer Place Pergola (designed by Julian Everett) was built. The year 1909 also coincides with the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, (now on the location of the University of Washington, not very far from Pioneer Square and Downtown Seattle), essentially Seattle’s first “World’s Fair.” By the 1910s, the commercial heart of downtown Seattle began to move north. The former commercial center became increasingly devoted to industrial uses and had a preponderance of warehouses, small factories and workingmen’s hotels. As part of this trend, in 1929, Harry Buttnick began manufacturing water repellent in the building, which then belonged to Mrs. Maud (also associated with the Maud Building). Water repellent had been an important industry since the Klondike Gold Rush, when many local businesses also began to supply clothing and gear for the trip to the Klondike. Sometime around 1929, the Buttnicks purchased the building and also moved other businesses into the building, such as the O K Loan Office and the Buttnick Jobbing and Investment Company. Other tenants were United Shoe Repair, the Seaport Tavern, a barber school and the Washington Cigar Store. In 1950, the Buttnick Manufacturing Company took over the entire building except for the storefronts. Most of the building was then devoted to the manufacture of Driftwood Sportswear and Paul Bunyon Outerwear. This explains the painted signs which are still part of the building. In 1960, on the death of Harry Buttnick, Driftwood Sportswear and Paul Bunyon Outerwear were liquidated, but the Buttnick family kept the real estate. The building’s upper floors, in particular, are typical of early utilitarian warehouse and manufacturing buildings constructed in the 1900s, as the former “burnt district” began to thrive and then became increasingly industrialized during the 1910s. {The nature of the later 1950 businesses devoted to outdoor wear ties in with the earlier businesses in the same neighborhood, which used to outfit the Klondike adventurers.} Architecturally, this is perhaps one of the least eye-catching examples, but the upper floors have historical integrity and the general shape and scale and overall design are typical of the late 1900s. This is a contributing building in the Pioneer Square Historic District.
The Buttnick Building is a three story building, with brick masonry walls. Wall thicknesses vary from 23” at the basement level to 18” at the parapet. The building is almost rectangular in plan, roughly 60 feet by 100 feet, and has a basement. The roof is virtually flat, except for a small skylight located near toward the southeast. The basic interior structure consists of 11” by 11” steel and concrete columns with heavy timber beams and wood joists. Street elevations face north on Washington Street, west on First Avenue South and at about a forty-five degree angle between Washington Street and First Avenue South. The building has high storefronts on the ground level and trabeated openings with wood casement windows and clerestories on the upper floors. The building is also distinguished by its horizontal signage of green letters on a white background : “BUTTNICK MFG CO.” on its northern elevations and “DRIFTWOOD SPORTSWEAR” on its angled elevation. Both of these were added in the 1950s. The east elevation, very much a back elevation, has a faded sign for Rainier Beer and window openings with segmental arches. The south party wall, shared with the City Loan Pavilion Building. is apparently partially a vestige from a previous building on the site, originally known as Commercial House and then Kenyon House and originally built in 1889. The recent renovation has uncovered, but also rebuilt, the storefronts. The original cornice was lost as a result of the 1949 Earthquake and has also been replaced. Aside from these changes and the later painted signage which actually gives the building some character, the Buttnick Building’s exterior appearance seems to have changed little.

Detail for 202 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800380 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Metal, Stone - Cast Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Community Planning/Development
Changes to Plan: Intact
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
“The Buttnick Building, 200-204 First Avenue S. and 101-109 S. Washington Street, Historic Preservation Certification, Part 1,” ca. 2001. Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, State of Washington, Olympia, Washington, Microfiche File.

Photo collection for 202 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800380 / Inv #

Photo taken Apr 21, 2004
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