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Summary for 226-232 1st AVE / Parcel ID 1989201515 / Inv # FAC012

Historic Name: Bressi Garage Common Name: Pottery Northwest/Gardener's Complex
Style: Commercial, Vernacular Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1923
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1923, Dominick Bressi constructed this large brick automobile garage building in what was primarily a residential neighborhood of older wood frame homes and apartments. A native of southern Italy, Mr. Bressi had immigrated to Brooklyn, New York before arriving in Seattle around 1907. After operating a grocery in the Rainier Valley for a number of years, he opened the Bressi Garage in this location by 1924. It appears that the business was more of a parking garage for automobiles than a repair facility. Early in the years of automobile ownership, it was popular to park in a large, central parking facility located near one’s residence, especially in older and more densely settled residential neighborhoods. Many people lived in homes or apartments without garage facilities, and it was considered unsafe to store an automobile too close to one’s residence. Mechanics were on duty to provide repairs and gasoline was usually available for sale. Mr. Bressi operated his garage into the early 1940s. By 1942, the garage had become a truck rental facility for Hertz Drive-Ur-Self Stations Inc., and Mr. Bressi worked there as a mechanic until the later 1940s when he retired. From the 1950s to the later 1960s, the building housed a number of different businesses, including the package and shipping department of the City Transfer & Storage Company, and the general merchandise wholesaler World Wide Distributors Inc. During this time, the character of the neighborhood shifted from residential to commercial, especially after the Seattle World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition in 1962. In 1966, the City acquired the building from Mr. Bressi for use as a municipal off-street parking facility. By the 1970s, Pottery Northwest, a non-profit clay studio, had taken over the southern half of the building. In 1966, the Seattle Clay Club had founded the studio at Seattle Center in order to form a permanent workshop for Northwest potters. It has grown into a large, fully equipped center for the clay arts, offering unique resources to the studio potter or student at any level of experience. The north half of the building is currently used as a grounds maintenance facility for the Seattle Center. Although modest in design, the Pottery Northwest/Gardener’s Complex is significant as an intact example of an early building type and for its associations with the development of the lower Queen Anne Hill neighborhood.
Completed in 1923, this large one-story brick building occupies a corner lot on 1st Avenue North at Thomas Street. The flat roof structure has a square plan, which measures 120 feet per side. The principal west elevation presents a façade with two prominent stepped parapets over the northern and southern halves of the building. Wide brick piers divide each half into five bays. Corbelled brick embellishes the lintels of the recessed window openings within each bay. Most of the bays retain the original multi-paned wood window below a similar multi-paned wood transom and above a brick bulkhead with a brick sill. The center bay of the southern half now has a recessed entry set with a modern door. The parapet walls above the bays featured patterned brickwork and a raised rectangular panel at the center. A sheet metal coping covers the parapet wall. Wide brick piers along the north elevation create the same rhythm of the bays, however there have been more alterations to this side of the building. Four of the six wider bays have an intact opening at the center set with the original multi-paned wood window. One of the remaining bays now has a large overhead door opening while the other has an entrance door within the bricked in bay. The two halves of the rear east elevation have less elaborate stepped parapets. The five large openings on the northern half have been filled with concrete blocks and painted with murals. The five openings on the south half are completely intact with the original multi-paned wood windows flanking a large sliding door center entrance. Each opening has an overhead metal door installed above it on the exterior. On the south elevation, the original party wall is constructed of common brick. An entrance door is situated near the eastern end off a loading dock. A shed roof wood frame structure with a corrugated metal roof extends along most of the south elevation. This attractive Vernacular building retains good physical integrity.

Detail for 226-232 1st AVE / Parcel ID 1989201515 / Inv # FAC012

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat, Gable Roof Material(s): Other, Unknown
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Square
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Ethnic Heritage, Transportation
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
City Council Bills and Ordinances, Seattle City Clerk's Office Legislative Databases (
"Dominick Bressi," Obituaries, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 6, 1948, p. 22.
"Dominick Bressi," Obituaries, Seattle Times, February 6, 1948, p. 41.

Photo collection for 226-232 1st AVE / Parcel ID 1989201515 / Inv # FAC012

Photo taken Nov 14, 2000
App v2.0.1.0