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Summary for 1101 AIRPORT WAY / Parcel ID 7666203380 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Washington Iron Works Pattern Shop Common Name: Romaine Electric Company
Style: Other - Industrial Neighborhood:
Built By: Year Built: 1920
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.

This building was constructed as a pattern shop factory for the Washington Iron Works. Tax assessor’s files date the building to 1920, but an original construction permit was not located in the DPD files. It is associated with the development of the Seattle tidelands area as a transportation-related industrial and commercial warehouse district, and is specifically associated with an industrial firm that was one of the earliest ironworks manufacturers in Seattle and which played a significant role in the logging, mining, shipbuilding and airplane manufacturing industries. The tidelands were filled through a series of successive grading and fill projects between 1895 and 1929, creating developable land that made the expansion of railroad and port facilities possible and fostering the development of the area for industrial and commercial use that supported significant economic progress of the city in the early 20th century.

The Washington Iron Works was established by L.H. Tenney and J.M. Frink around 1881 or 1882 and the firm has been credited with developing specialized Diesel engines for the logging industry. The firm was carried on by Frink’s sons and in the 1930s claimed the distinction of being the oldest Washington firm continuing under original ownership. The firm constructed facilities in the vicinity of Airport Way (formerly Seattle Blvd.) and Connecticut at least as early as 1908 and gradually expanded the facilities to include ten acres. The subject property is the only building remaining of the former industrial complex and was in use by the firm up until at least 1942. By 1948 the building was in use as a creamery. Romaine Electric Co. first occupied the building for use as an automotive parts facility beginning in the 1960s.



The utilitarian industrial building is a large rectangular three story flat-roofed structure characterized by the large window openings set within the repetitive bays along the east, west and south elevations. Many original multi-paned industrial steel sash windows remain, but all of the windows on the second story south side are newer contemporary windows. The entry and windows on the first story north elevation, which was originally a blank brick wall, are contemporary additions.An original mechanical penthouse appears to have been removed from the roof. Although it has been altered to some degree, it still retains an industrial character and is one of the few remaining large buildings of its type in an area that was a historically significant industrial district and  appears to be the only building remaining with associations to one of the most prominent and long-standing local iron working firms.

Additional Sources:
Seattle Public Library Seattle Room Collections:
Seattle Times, June 23, 1935; "Firm Developed Logging Engine."

Detail for 1101 AIRPORT WAY / Parcel ID 7666203380 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Manufacturing Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Baist Map of 1905, 1908 and 1912
Hanford, C. H. Seattle and Environs. Chicago: Pioneer Historical Publication Company, 1924.
Bagley, Clarence B. History of King County, Washington. Seattle: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1929.
City of Seattle DPD Microfilm Records.

Photo collection for 1101 AIRPORT WAY / Parcel ID 7666203380 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Mar 04, 2007

Photo taken Mar 04, 2007
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