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Summary for 1275 Mercer ST / Parcel ID 2925049094 / Inv #

Historic Name: Kenworth Motor Truck Company Common Name: Bargreen Ellingson
Style: Commercial, Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Cascade
Built By: Year Built: 1929
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).
The building was constructed during 1928 and completed in 1929 to meet an increased need for space for the Kenworth Motor Truck Corporation. It was designed by William Jones and R.C. Stanley, Associated Architects and Engineers. The contractor was C.J. Disler. Interior steel girders were made by Wallace Bridge & Structural Steel Company. Known historically as 1263 Mercer St, it was built on the site of the demolished Hemrick Brewing Company. The new building housed the manufacturing area, the machine shop, executive offices and a showroom for the Kenworth Motor Truck Corporation. In 1928, Seattle Mayor Frank Edwards placed a decorative cornerstone on the corner of the building, which is still there. The plant set a production record of 230 trucks in 1930, but by 1932, as a result of the Depression was in very poor shape financially and began producing buses in significant numbers. During World War II, two sections of the building were separated from the truck production areas by a chain link fence, (to meet security requirements), and used in the production of B-17 bomber parts. The production of bomber parts continued in three shifts until 1944. Nose sections, bomb bay doors and bulkheads for the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-29 Super Fortress were made. In 1943, a significant number of the Seattle Kenworth employees (about 415 out of 507) were women. Their work at the Yale & Mercer plant was a very important contribution to the war effort. The Kenworth Motor Truck Corporation was bought out by Paccar in 1944 and the Kenworth plant in this building was closed. By 1946 and at least until 1967, drawings at the Dept of Planning and Development (former DCLU) indicate that the building housed Electrical Products Consolidated. By 1985, the Bargreen Contract Department had contracted to have “upper level spaces” designed for offices. Architecturally, this building is significant as a simple industrial building using steel girders and concrete and built to carry the heavy weight of truck and airplane parts. While its basic cladding and window openings seem to be reasonably intact, a few door openings and showroom windows have been filled in, particularly on the north side of the Yale elevation. Also, on the Yale side, just to the north of the block with the higher parapet, two showroom windows and a large doorway have been filled in and replaced by three smaller windows. In general, the original industrial sash windows have been removed and replaced with modern windows that nevertheless give some sense of the original divisions between the main window expanses.
This building is rectangular in plan and has a flat roof with parapet. Walls are concrete and brick clad at a few feet above street grade to the top of the parapet. The main street elevations are on Mercer Street and Yale Avenue. While the building has two levels of mostly long rectangular windows facing Mercer Street and the north side of the Yale Avenue elevation, it was designed as a one story building. Part of the building facing Mercer has been redesigned on the interior to house two levels of offices, but this has not changed the exterior of the building. On Yale Avenue, the two levels of rectangular windows are succeeded, as one moves south, by a lower parapet wall and a series of storefront windows. The building also has a basement. The Mercer Street parapet rises very gradually toward the center of the façade, in rectangular increments. Historically, below the central top “rectangle” was a sign for the “Kenworth Motor Truck Company.” The Mercer elevation also has a few smaller oblong windows toward the west. The interior structure is post and beam, with interior steel girders.

Detail for 1275 Mercer ST / Parcel ID 2925049094 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Brick - Clinker Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Other
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry, Science & Engineering
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Plan: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Baist, William, Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Surveys of Seattle, Wash., Philadelphia: W. G. Baist, 1908 &1912, Section 7.
Siefkes, Doug, Kenworth, The First 75 Years. Seattle: Documentary Book Publishers/ Saquatch Press, 1998.
King County Dept. of Development and Environmental Services Parcel Locators- GIS Center

Photo collection for 1275 Mercer ST / Parcel ID 2925049094 / Inv #

Photo taken Oct 23, 2003
App v2.0.1.0