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Summary for 3001 24TH AVE / Parcel ID 3085001665 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Common Name: Blaine Memorial Methodist
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Beacon Hill
Built By: Year Built: 1961

Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church is both architecturally and socially significant. It is an excellent example of mid-twentieth century Modern architecture inspired by traditional Japanese deign. It also plays an important religious and cultural role in the Japanese American community in South Seattle.

This religious property is located in Beacon Hill, just west of Rainier Avenue. The building was first constructed around 1962 by Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church. The church moved from its former downtown location to South Seattle at this time. The church supports programs that are a fusion of Anglo and Japanese traditions and maintains a social and education presence in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Substantial residential and commercial development in Beacon Hill occurred when a transportation corridor connecting the Rainier Valley to Downtown Seattle and Seattle’s industrial district was constructed along Rainier Avenue. Development in the valley was facilitated by logging during the 1880s, the operation of the Rainier Valley Electric Railway in the 1890s, and the Jackson and Dearborn Street re-grades in the 1900s. Milling was the primary commercial industry during the last part of the nineteenth century although some agricultural activity existed. As residential development increased, Rainier Avenue gradually became the principal commercial corridor connecting the residential neighborhoods of South Seattle to downtown, the International District, and Seattle’s industrial districts. World War II brought additional building growth related to the wartime industry, as well as the influx of defense workers to nearby Boeing and the Duwamish shipyards. 

Beacon Hill has historically been a more economically and socially diverse neighborhood than Mount Baker to its east. There was less enforcement of residential deed restrictions and a greater availability of smaller, more affordable housing. One of the first land owners of Beacon Hill was George Riley, an African American from Portland, Oregon. George Riley, organizer of the Workingmen’s Joint Stock Association in Portland, arranged the organization’s purchase of property on Beacon Hill, which was platted in 1871 as Riley’s Addition. Furthermore, the northern end of Rainier Valley, which was originally settled by German immigrants, acquired the historical nickname “Garlic Gulch” during the early twentieth century due to the growing strength and predominance of its Italian American community. 

In addition to the Italian American community in northern Rainier Valley, the Japanese American community grew and expanded southwards to Beacon Hill during the first two decades of the twentieth century as a result of relatively less restrictive immigration and exclusion laws. While the 1889 Alien Land Laws excluded non-citizens from owning land, they were able to purchase property under the names of their second generation family members. When the Immigration Act of 1924 inhibited further Japanese immigration, they were still able to continue expanding their families and businesses in Seattle. However, after President Roosevelt issued his Executive Order 9066 in 1942, the Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest were sent to internment camps and their properties and businesses were usually confiscated. After World War II, formerly incarcerated Japanese Americans returned to Seattle, successfully rebuilding their social networks and businesses and again emerging as a significant force in Seattle.

Beacon Hill’s diverse beginnings were reinforced by its landscape features, including Jefferson Park located at the center of Beacon Hill. Originally named Beacon Hill Park, Jefferson Park has exerted a profoundly positive influence on the development and social cohesion of the Beacon Hill neighborhood through its sustained use by local residents. Originally acquired by the City of Seattle in 1898, it was integrated into Seattle’s Olmsted system of parks. In 1915, the first public golf course west of the Mississippi opened at Jefferson Park. From 1919 to 1941, the year before many Japanese Americans were interned in the Northwest, the Japanese-American Language School in Seattle used the park for its annual picnics. Japanese Golf Association held annual tournaments beginning in 1931. African Americans, Japanese Americans, and Chinese Americans organized golf clubs during the 1940s and 1950s because they were excluded from white clubs; they used Jefferson Park as their home course.

The Jefferson Park community center and golf course remains open to the public and the Beacon Hill neighborhood continues to be an ethnically diverse, working-class community. Its businesses and public spaces, including Jefferson Park and Dr. Jose Rizal Park, reinforce this diversity.

The 111,000 square foot lot for this church is located at the end of a cul-de-sac on 24th Avenue South. The church complex consists of two two-story buildings with a large parking lot at the 24th Avenue South entrance. The west building was constructed around 1961 and is considered the architecturally significant structure in the church complex. It is connected to the east building, which is a later addition, by a covered walkway. The east building is a large commercial-style structure with an irregular floor plan, gable roof, and brick cladding. The west building, however, has a varied design that includes a mix of elements from the older Arts and Crafts movement and the newer International Style movement. The building has a square floor plan with an open courtyard at the center, a poured concrete foundation, and vertical wood board and veneer siding. The courtyard contains a very well-kept landscape feature. The low-sloped, gable-on-hip roof system has a wide eaves overhang with exposed beams and is covered by asphalt composition shingles. The eaves overhang forms a cloister around the center courtyard. The low-hipped roofs and exposed beams are very similar to roof design in the Arts and Crafts movement. However, the fenestration is inspired by the International Style’s use of the transparent curtain wall; windows and white panels run in horizontal bands along the outer, east elevation and along the inside of the cloister, creating the appearance of a curtain wall. Windows also have thin aluminum and wood mullions and are frequently carried to the edges of the walls, which also contributes the curtain wall effect. This church is an extremely interesting building as it not only is an excellent example of the Arts and Crafts and International Style architectural movements, but it also illustrates the practice of borrowing elements from popular architectural styles and incorporating them into a vernacular building. Therefore, it remains a significant architectural feature in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Detail for 3001 24TH AVE / Parcel ID 3085001665 / Inv # 0

Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Other, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Varied roof lines Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition-Shingle
Building Type: Religion - Religious facility Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Unknown No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Plan: Unknown
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Interior: Unknown
Other: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Dorpat, Paul, “101 The Railroad Avenue Elevated,” Seattle, Now and Then, Seattle: Tartu Publications, 1984.
Bagley, Clarence B. History of Seattle, Washington. Chicago: S.J. Clarke, 1916.
Berner, Richard. Seattle 1921-1940: From Boom to Bust. Seattle: Charles Press, 1992.

Photo collection for 3001 24TH AVE / Parcel ID 3085001665 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010

Photo taken Jan 20, 2010
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