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Summary for 307 Fairview AVE / Parcel ID 1986200480 / Inv #

Historic Name: Troy Laundry Building Common Name: Former Troy Laundry
Style: Beaux Arts - Neoclassical Neighborhood: South Lake Union
Built By: Year Built: 1927
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
This building is a City of Seattle landmark. It includes the main 1927 building, designed by Seattle architect Victor W. Voorhees and two additions: a western addition from 1944 and a northern addition from 1946, both according to designs by (architect/engineer) Henry Bittman. Bittman closely followed the brickwork and terra cotta ornament of Voorhees’ original design. The building with its additions is virtually intact. There have also been subsequent additions, which are clearly different from the original building: a major concrete block structure by Charles Kitchin from 1965 and a smaller concrete block addition from 1966. The Troy Laundry is thought to have been originally established around 1905 by Rollin V. Ankeny and Bradford D. Baucus at the northeast corner of Republican St and Nob Hill. The business moved from the Nob Hill location to this building in 1927. By this time, the Troy Laundry was owned by John C. Hagen, who had bought the laundry in 1920. The Troy Laundry was one of many Seattle laundries, several of which were located in the South Lake Union/ Cascade neighborhood after the end of World War I. By 1948, the Troy Laundry plant was the largest laundry operation in the Pacific Northwest. Victor Voorhees was a prolific Seattle architect from around 1907 to the late 1920s. His career in Seattle began in 1904, when he moved from the Midwest to work in the building department of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Line. From 1907 to 1911, through the publication of his Western Builder, which featured a series of his house plans, he was responsible for the construction of many houses in Seattle. These house designs, although varied, have recognizable features and detailing. Extant examples can be found in many parts of Seattle, but in particular on Queen Anne Hill and Capitol Hill. He is best known for high end buildings, however. These include the Vance Building (1929-30) at Third and Union St, the Vance Hotel (1927) at 6th and Stewart St, the Lloyd Building on Stewart Street between 7th and 8th Avenues, all in downtown Seattle; the Georgetown City Hall; the Marqueen on Queen Anne Avenue North and Mercer Street and the Washington Arms apartment building, south of Volunteer Park, on Capitol Hill. Voorhees, who was born in 1876, spent the better part of his youth in Minneapolis and moved to Cambria, Wisconsin at age 23. He was trained in law at the Minneapolis Academy, a Lutheran College in Minnesota, and during the same period worked in general construction. It is not clear that he was ever formally trained in architecture, but appears to have become an architect as a result of his construction experience. Henry Bittman’s office was responsible for many beautifully designed terra cotta clad buildings in Seattle, particularly in Seattle’s downtown during the 1920s. Bittman was born in the early 1880s and grew up in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. His initial education focused on structural engineering. When he arrived in Seattle in 1906, he worked as a bridge designer and in 1907, started a short-lived partnership with William Kingsley, an architect. By 1908, Bittman had his own engineering practice. He was licensed as an architect in 1923, and his office became especially successful. The terra cotta clad Terminal Sales Building was completed in the same year; however, one the important designers in Bittman’s firm was Henry Adams, considered responsible for many of the more striking exterior designs and interior spaces produced by the office, from the late 1900s onward. In addition to the Terminal Sales Building, among the notable, extant buildings designed by the Bittman firm in Seattle are: the Decatur Building (1921), the Olympic Tower (ca. 1929), the Eagles Auditorium (1924-25), the Hubbel Building (1922) and the 1929-1931 addition to the King County Courthouse. While the building is associated with two well-known Seattle architects, clearly it is Voorhees’ original design that is the inspiration for Bittman’s subsequent work. (For more complete information, please see the City Landmark nomination or references below).
The original 1927 building designed for the Troy Laundry is a two-story concrete structure with and red brick veneer pattern details and extensive white terra cotta trim. Its plan was 150 feet by 120 feet and it is located on the northwest corner of Fairview Avenue North and Thomas Street. The façade is along Fairview Avenue North, with a simpler south elevation, which is mainly one story and due to an addition made in the 1940s. The original main entrance bay, which projects out from the rest of the façade, is distinguished by a semi-circular arched opening with a terra cotta surround, which includes cable molding around the opening. To each side of the arched opening and surround, at two levels, are rectangular openings with multi-pane industrial sash. The entire projecting bay is surmounted by a raised parapet with a triangular shape. A distinguishing feature of the raised parapet is the festooned cartouche, surmounted by a woman’s head, thought to represent Helen of Troy, all in white terra cotta. Below this and a terra cotta belt course, which ties in to the parapet cap of the recessed side bays, is a copper sign band with the words “TROY LAUNDRY.” To each side of this pedimented entrance bay are a series of bays, which have a straight parapet and similar fenestration, and are defined by engaged pilasters with brick shafts and terra cotta capitals. In general, the capitals include floral motifs. White terra cotta is also used for the window sills and for the continuous belt-courses across the façade. (For further information or description, please see the City of Seattle’s landmark nomination or references provided).

Detail for 307 Fairview AVE / Parcel ID 1986200480 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: LR, INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Terra cotta Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Processing Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry, Transportation
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Voorhees, V.W. Western Home Builder. Sixth Edition. Seattle: 1907.
Drawings, Microfiche Files, Department of Planning and Development.
Glickstein, Don. “Victor Voorhees and the prospering of Seattle.” Seattle, WA (?), 2001.
Krafft, Katheryn H., et al., Addendum to Seattle Commons/South Lake Union Plan final environmental impact statement date May 11, 1995. Seattle : City of Seattle, Department of Construction and Land Use, 1995

Photo collection for 307 Fairview AVE / Parcel ID 1986200480 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 14, 2005

Photo taken Mar 14, 2005

Photo taken Feb 11, 2005
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