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Summary for 3201 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 7666207420 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: C. Kirk Hillman Company Common Name: K. R. Trigger Building
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Duwamish
Built By: Year Built: 1923

Although windows have been replaced, this building has retained many of its original architectural features and its basic appearance. It is typical of heavy timber buildings, often used for industrial purposes in Seattle. It still has a major presence on First Avenue South.

Original construction drawings indicate that the building was designed as an “Electric Machinery Sales and Storage Building for C. K. Hillman” in 1923. A photo from 1936 shows that, at that time, the overall building was painted a light color and that, as in the case of many such buildings in the Industrial District, large letters in a darker color were used to advertise the building use.  In this case, the word “MACHINERY” was painted at the top of the façade over the third floor windows. “CONTRACTORS EQUIPMENT” was painted across the wider portion of the façade above the second level windows. In addition, “C. K. HILLMAN CO. MOTORS MACHINERY CONTRACTING EQUIPMENT” was painted across the Hanford elevation in large letters. There was also blade sign above the central entry on the main façade, advertising “ “C” Kirk Hillman Co. Quality Machinery.” Slightly more modest signs appeared on some of the plate glass storefronts.

One other minor difference is that the basement level along Hanford St used to be on grade and set on relatively flat ground. In fact, the sidewalk was where it is today, but then there was a more precipitous grade drop from 1st Avenue to Hanford St, behind the sidewalk.

Drawings from July 1957 indicate that the building was still occupied by C. Kirk Hillman Co. It was apparently briefly owned by O. W. Ostrom in 1959, but bought again by the C. Kirk Hillman Company in 1961. The C. Kirk Hillman Company was still listed as this address in 1970. Other sources indicate that the founder of the company, C. Kirk Hillman, lived in a house near Roanoke Park and was a known manufacturer of electrical machinery for both mining and logging resource extraction. His wife, Ruth, studied domestic science at the University of Washington and later taught the same subject there. The MIT alumnus publication, the Tech, also mentions in a 1914 issue, a graduate by the name of C. Kirk Hillman, who, at that time, lived in Keokuk, Iowa. It seems likely that this is the same man and that C. Kirk Hillman studied at MIT.

By 1974, the building was vacant, although by 1980, the C. Kirk Hillman Company,  along with the Consolidated Electric Company, was again apparently housed in the building. By the late 1980s, a barber shop supply and equipment business is listed at the building address. The building was renovated to its present exterior condition, based on drawings from 1999. It was around this time that the present painted sign, which includes the name “K. R. Trigger,” but also, 1923, the original date of construction, was added to the building façade. The building interior has been made into a variety of smaller spaces, including office space for architects, graphic artists and similar professions. It also apparently houses Dr. Scott Andrews’ dental office and his private collection of vintage neon signs.

Additional Sources
Erin O’Connor, Lee O’Connor, Cheryl Thomas, (Friends of Roanoke Park), “National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Roanoke Park Historic District,” March, 2009, p16-17.

Richard Seven, “How Goes SODO?,” Seattle Times, Pacific Northwest Magazine, October 19, 2003, database at :<>, accessed March 2010.

 “Tech Review,” Vol. 16, Cambridge, MA: MIT Alumni Association, 1914, p 352.

3201 1st Avenue South is a heavy timber and wood shingle clad building located on the southwest corner of First Avenue South and Hanford St. In plan, the building is 60 feet along First Avenue South by 148 feet along Hanford Street. The original interior structure includes repeated Howe trusses, with knee braces attached to lateral walls that defined the top portion of the central space. The central space rises above two side wings. The central space is also defined by a monitor roof with multi-pane clerestory windows; however, the main façade, which has a straight stepped parapet, acts as a false front: a straight view toward the façade from First Avenue hides the actual shape of the roof and building. From the street the façade has three stories of windows, as well as basement openings, which have been filled in. The Hanford St elevation first and second floors, as well as the clerestory level. A basement level becomes more pronounced, with the change of grade from First Avenue South to Utah Avenue S, farther west.

The First Avenue South and Hanford Street elevations were also characterized by large window openings with multi-pane glazing, with what look like muntins of some depth. In particular, the windows along the Hanford St elevation pivoted, some in the vertical direction, others in the horizontal direction. Presumably this was true of most of the windows on these major elevations. The many windows on both elevations have been replaced fairly recently by multi-pane windows with flat muntins. Despite this, at least from a distance, the building has an overall appearance similar its original appearance.

Above the street level, on the main façade, original multi-pane windows were typically five panes in the horizontal direction by four panes in the vertical direction. The present flat muntin window replacements tend to be six panes in the horizontal by five panes in the vertical direction. On the other hand, above the first level, window openings do not seem to have changed. The street level originally had large plate glass storefronts. Although the frames of the storefronts have been retained and the outline of the storefront location is still visible, the storefront openings have been mostly filled in, with smaller window openings punched in. On each end of the facade, two pairs of windows more or less line up with the original window openings above. Based on a photo from 1936, the original entry is close to or the same as the original entry.

On the Hanford Street elevation, at the first level, a similar change has occurred. The outline and frames of the large plate glass storefronts in the first two bays, (counting from the corner of First Avenue and Hanford St), are still visible, but have been filled in. Smaller multi-pane sliders have taken their place.

Detail for 3201 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 7666207420 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Other, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Monitor, Varied roof lines Roof Material(s): Other
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Manufacturing Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Braced Frame No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Storefront: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Drawings, Microfiche Files, Department of Planning and Development.
King County Assessor Property Characteristics Report, database at --parcel locator

Photo collection for 3201 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 7666207420 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jan 10, 2010
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