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Summary for 3200 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 7666205935 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Stetson Ross Machine Company Common Name: Stetson Ross Machine Company
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Duwamish
Built By: Year Built: 1916

These three buildings have sustained considerable alteration over time, but still convey their historical significance to some degree. The two front buildings were originally built during the mid to late 1910s. The only information concerning their original construction occurs in the King County Tax Assessor records.  Based on these, the north building was built in 1916, while the south building was built in 1918. During the 1940s, architect Henry Bittman was responsible for their remodel. The drawings were produced for the Stetson Ross Machinery Company. Henry Bittman also designed the back building between 1943 and1946 for the “Stetson Ross Machinery Company acting on behalf of the Defense Plant Corporation.” Another remodel of the buildings occurred during the late 1960s. In particular, the new arches on the two buildings that are set along First Avenue South, as well as the replacement windows, appear to be part of an even more recent remodel.

The Stetson Ross Machine Company was a well-known Northwest manufacturer of lumber machinery, as well as other woodworking equipment, especially planers. George Stetson initially founded the Stetson-Post lumber mill in Seattle during the 1870s. In 1907, Stetson and Harry Ross joined forces to found the Stetson Ross Machine works. This firm manufactured planer-matchers, according to a design created by Stetson. The company continued to be well known because of its planers. After the departure of Ross, for a time, the company was named the Stetson Machine Works. After the death of both Stetson and his son around the early 1920s, the company name contained the names of both of its original founders. The company apparently acquired the two First Avenue South buildings in 1930.

General Manager Wilmot Pritchard played a pivotal role in assuring that Stetson Ross weathered the Great Depression and endured well past his death in 1952. Despite many subsequent changes in ownership, the firm even expanded during the 1960s and 1970s, buying up many other related product lines. The firm apparently closed during the 1980s, with the planer line sold to a company in Cottage Grove, Oregon in 1985. Directory listings indicate that Stetson Ross remained in the buildings until at least 1974, but that they were vacant by 1980.

Additional Sources 
 “Guide to the Stetson-Ross Machine Co. Collection circa 1920-1985,” explanatory notes, Museum of History and Industry, nwda website,, accessed July 19, 2010.

 “Stetson Ross Machine Company, Seattle, WA,” Old Wood Working Machines, website at, accessed July 19, 2010.

Chandler Jones, Planers, Matches and Molders in America 1800 to 1985, Seattle, 1985.


This is a complex of three heavy timber buildings, with wood flush siding. They are located on the southeast corner of 1st Avenue South and S Hanford St. The first two buildings are located along 1st Avenue South and have main facades along 1st Avenue South.

The north building, located along First Avenue South, includes a new central entry arch with one long rectangular window opening to each side. There is also a bank of five similar window openings to the south of this grouping , as well as two similar openings at the  north end of the façade. An important element of the main façade is the raised parapet/ false front, which is adorned with ornamental brackets, original features of the façade. All windows are replacements with false, flat muntins.

The southern building, located along First Avenue South, has a straight parapet with similar brackets, also original features (or good replacements in kind).The façade also has a new arched entry, flanked to each side by a bank of four windows at the second level. On the north end of the façade, there is another lower new arched opening, with another similar window opening to the south of it. At the second level, this last group of openings is topped by a bank of four window openings.

In the case of both front buildings, the new arches replaced service entries, accessed through large wooden doors that slid laterally along an upper track. Such doors are typical of early wooden utilitarian buildings.  They were also used, for instance, on Seattle’s waterfront pier buildings. Although the windows have been replaced, most of the openings, at least on the main elevations along First Avenue South, appear to be original.

The back building is accessed through a gate/ door, which is not always accessible to the public. It is of similar construction, but stands out because of the saw tooth arrangement of skylights.

Detail for 3200 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 7666205935 / Inv # 0

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Monitor, Sawtooth Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Manufacturing Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Braced Frame No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Storefront: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Drawings, Microfiche Files, Department of Planning and Development.
King County Assessor Property Characteristics Report, database at --parcel locator

Photo collection for 3200 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 7666205935 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jan 10, 2010

Photo taken Jan 10, 2010
App v2.0.1.0