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Summary for 119 S Main ST S / Parcel ID 5247800360 / Inv #

Historic Name: Union Trust Building Common Name: Union Trust Building
Style: Commercial, Italian - Italian Renaissance Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1893
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
In its day, this building was considered one of the most interesting contributions to the “burnt district” in the 1890s by the local press. It was designed by the architectural partnership of Skillings and Corner and completed in 1893. It was built to house a series of wholesale businesses, including Roy & Company, H N. Richmond and Company and John B. Agen. The building was designed to carry what were considered heavy loads – 250 pounds per square foot – and the walls and piers were of “extra size.” The original design was supposed to have facades with a ground floor clad in white sandstone and the upper floors in red brick. This part of the design was evidently modified to white brick, which greatly impressed the Post-Intelligencer writers. The use of light brick had been something of a rarity at the time of the building’s construction, although it became more prevalent thereafter. Jeffrey Ochsner and Dennis Andersen suggest that Corner, because of his recent arrival from Boston and the influence of Eclectic styles found on the East Cost, may have been behind the use of white brick. The building was also planned with elevators powered by “Edison electric motors,” something of a novelty in 1893, since hydraulic elevators were more prevalent in Seattle, although Elmer Fisher’s Pioneer Building, from the same period was also to have an electric elevator. Warren Porter Skillings was born in Portland, Maine in 1860 and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1880. He worked in “several leading” architectural offices in Boston before coming to Seattle after the Great Fire of 1889. By the 1890s, he was designing important warehouse/office buildings and was also credited in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 1892 with designing “a number of the prettiest dwellings” in Seattle. Once in Seattle, he became an important member of the architectural community. His drawing for a design for the Washington State Building was showcased in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. His articulate comments concerning the architectural profession in Seattle were also quoted at length. In September 1892, he formed Skillings and Corner with James N. Corner. Corner, born in 1862, was a recent arrival from Boston as well as a native of that city. With W. E. Boone, Corner later formed Boone and Corner, a partnership which lasted from 1900 until 1905. Corner then practiced independently until 1919. The building retains its original appearance and is distinctive not only because of the fine detailing of its brickwork, but also because of the delicacy of the storefront detailing, particularly along Occidental Way South (actually Occidental Mall). Based on a comparison with its neighbor, it appears to have lost the very top of its parapet, although it retains most of it. With 115 S. Main Street, it has a powerful presence and anchors the corner of Occidental and Main Street. Along with its neighbor, this is one of the first buildings to be rehabilitated by architect Ralph Anderson, as early as the 1960s. It is important as an early and successful restoration before the Pioneer Square Historic District was created.
Located on the southwest corner of Occidental Way South and Main Street, this is a four story building with a parapet and clad in light gray brick, considered white in the 1890s. Its footprint is 120’ X 60’ and it has a basement level. It has main facades on Occidental Way South and Main Street and is located next to the Union Trust Annex, which has a surprisingly similar design, but was apparently not designed by the same architect. The Occidental South elevation has four major bays subdivided into three single bays each. Each major bay on Occidental Way South has storefronts with distinctive cast-iron columns. These are square in plan, fluted to three quarters of the way up the shaft and then topped by a motif of raised half circles, in similar fashion to the cast-iron columns at 311 Occidental South to the south. Each storefront is divided into three bays, corresponding to the three bays of the major bays at the upper levels. A belt-course in metal with a running egg-and-dart motif surmounted by a running Greek key motif separates the ground floor level from the upper levels. Each major bay at the second level has three trabeated openings with a well-expressed flat arch with “voussoirs” in brick. The second level is then surmounted by a dentil course and then stone belt-course, which is semi-circular in section. Above this, are two story vertical bays, framed by brick piers surmounted by circular arches. The capitals of the piers are created in masonry by bands of stretcher bricks and headers set at angles. Arches are also emphasized by corbelled brick bands in a semi-circular pattern. Between the major bays are medallions in raised brick. The third and fourth floor window openings are separated by recessed spandrels. The top of the parapet has well-spaced dentils surmounted by corbel ornamentation, which alternates with a hollowed-out cross shape in brick. The Main Street elevation has two major bays and the same configuration and detailing within them.

Detail for 119 S Main ST S / Parcel ID 5247800360 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Metal, Stone 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 Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Storefront: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
“Artists in Building. Points of Professional Ethics among Architects. Standard of the Art Rising. Two New Wholesale Blocks on Main Street – Plans for the New Presbyterian Church – Collins’ Block,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 13 March 1893, p 5.
“Typical of A State. Unique World’s Fair Building for Washington. Will Display Our Resources. Most Characteristic Presented for Any State- Description of the Mr. Skillings’ Plans.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 17 April 1892, p 8.
Ochsner, Jeffrey and Dennis Andersen. Distant Corner: Seattle Architects and The Legacy of H. H. Richardson. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2004.

Photo collection for 119 S Main ST S / Parcel ID 5247800360 / Inv #

Photo taken Jun 08, 2004

Photo taken Nov 27, 2004
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