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Summary for 612 1st AVE / Parcel ID 0939000140 / Inv #

Historic Name: Howard Building Common Name: Howard Building
Style: Commercial, Queen Anne, 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).
The building was designed immediately after the Fire of June 6,1889 and first completed in 1890. It is typical of many of the buildings that were erected in the “burnt district” right after the Fire, although its composition is somewhat simpler than many of these early buildings. It has been attributed to Elmer Fisher. It is important as one of the earliest buildings that helped to define the triangular Pioneer Place, created as a result of an argument between Carson Boren who owned the land north of Mill Street, later called Yesler Way and Doc Maynard, who owned the land south of it and thanks to the modification of the general street layout in the summer of 1889, right after the Great Fire. King County Assessor’s Records give another date for the building as 1892, so it is likely that further changes were made by 1892. Elmer Fisher is known as Seattle’s most prolific architect, right after the Fire of June 6, 1889. Information concerning his place of birth and education in the field of architecture or otherwise is very spotty. He came to the Pacific Northwest in 1886 and designed buildings in Vancouver, Victoria and Port Townsend, before coming to Seattle in 1889. His most well-known work in Seattle is the Pioneer Building, which he designed for Henry Yesler, for whom he designed many buildings in this area, and several fronting on or near Pioneer Place. These include the Yesler Building, later called the Mutual Life Building, and completed by EmilDeNeuf (with an addition by Robertson and Blackwell) and the Bank of Commerce Building, now called the Yesler Building (top floor by Emil DeNeuf). Elmer Fisher produced an incredible number of buildings, especially between 1889 and 1891. 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.
The Howard Building at 612 First Avenue is a four story building, rectangular in plan with a flat roof and parapet. It is only of the earlier buildings erected on what became Pioneer Place and sits between Emil DeNeuf’s Lowman and Hanford Building and Elmer Fisher’s Pioneer Building. The ground floor and mezzanine level of the Howard Building are clad in rusticated stone. The composition of this part of the façade is asymmetrical. Openings are mostly trabeated, but at the mezzanine level a distinctive arched opening appears over the main doorway, creating a more prominent entry. Above this level, there is a projecting stone belt course. The top two floors are clad in brick and the composition shifts to a symmetrical one, with three rectangular flat arched openings. Above these is a thin decorative molding, then a band of stretcher bricks set at angles, surmounted by a cast stone belt course. The top level has three arched openings with projecting brick ornamental trim following the half circular curve of the arches. Flat piers between the arches have decorative Romanesque Revival floral capitals. The spandrels above the curved decorative brick bands are decorated by a pattern of bricks defining a series of squares. Terminating the wall are a series of decorative bands in brick including a dentil band. The top of the parapet has a projecting cast stone cornice, with a profile consisting of what seems like a classical combination of flat bands (fillets), convex moldings and smaller concave moldings.

Detail for 612 1st AVE / Parcel ID 0939000140 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Stone, Stone - Ashlar/cut, Stone - Cast Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat, Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Luxton, Donald, editor,, Building the West: the Early Architects of British Columbia. Vancouver B.C.: Talonbooks, 2003, 244-5.
"The Lowman Building, 107 Cherry Street, Historic Preservation Certification Application, Part 1," 5 February, 2004.

Photo collection for 612 1st AVE / Parcel ID 0939000140 / Inv #

Photo taken Dec 08, 2004

Photo taken Nov 12, 2004
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