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Summary for 5000 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 3573700406 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: United Motors Service Inc. (5000 1st Ave S/ 187 S Hudson St) Common Name: H. R. S. Hughes/ Tri-North Department Stores
Style: Art Deco - PWA Moderne, Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Duwamish
Built By: Year Built: 1941
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).

Plat: Industrial Add Replat, Block: G, Lot: 1-2

Engineer: Office of S. Murray, Resident Engineer of the Oregon and Washington Railroad

Although not intact, particularly with respect to the windows of the façade, overall the building has retained its integrity. The Office of S. Murray, Resident Engineer of the Oregon and Washington Railroad, initially designed the building in 1941 as a “Warehouse for United Motors Service Incorporated,” which occupied the building at least until 1974. The original building was approximately 175 feet by 175 feet in plan. In 1949, the Office of the Resident Engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad Company created what was then a slightly irregular L-shaped addition behind it for “Union Motors.”

This building is one of several buildings in the immediate neighborhood, initially created by the engineer of the Oregon and Washington Railroad. Two others are: 5050 1st Avenue South, located to the south and 4786 1st Avenue South, located to the north. The engineering office for the Oregon and Washington Railroad was then located in Portland, Oregon. This building, as well as other buildings in the vicinity, is an obvious indication of the close relationship of the railroads with this area and with Seattle’s Industrial District as a whole. Of the original drawings of the three buildings mentioned, the original drawings for 5000 1st Ave South are the only ones which actually name of the “Resident Engineer” for the Oregon and Washington Railroad.

Tri-North Rockhill Stores, Incorporated, clothing stores, were in the building by 1980 and remained until at least the late 1980s.


This building is slightly irregular or L-shaped in plan, although it initially had a rectangular plan that was approximately 175 feet by 175 feet. An addition was added behind and east of the earlier square wing, not long after its initial construction. The earlier wing has a main elevation along First Avenue South. In general, the building is one story in height and has concrete exterior walls. The main façade wall is primarily clad in concrete. The original interior structure includes a regular grid of heavy timber columns, with the front wing originally consisting of 8 bays along the main elevation, in the north-south direction, and 8 bays in the east-west direction. Part of the east elevation of the slightly later addition project out and, based on earlier plans, was slightly angled. The original grid of columns, found in the earlier wing, was also extended into the addition.

On the main façade, a tall main portal includes a doorway and clerestory, enframed in a somewhat imposing concrete surround, consisting of several layers. The transition between the door and the clerestory is also marked a semi-circular disk, which acts as a marquee and projects out over the doorway. Based on the original drawings, most of this seems to be original, although the door looks like a replacement. To each side of the portal, there are a series of window bays. There are seven to the north, followed by a doorway and six window bays to the south. The actual window surrounds are slightly recessed within an outer opening and thin recessed frame. There is a recessed spandrel below the glazing and one above, with a series of striations. This actually fits what is found in original drawings. On the other hand, at each window bay, single panes have replaced multi-pane sash. An area with a slightly lower parapet and four service doors completes the north end of the facade. This also appears in the original drawings, although the actual roll- down doors are clearly more recent. In general, the parapet consists of several offsets.

The north elevation, which is visible from First Avenue South, has many single window openings, filled with original industrial sash. Three such openings appear as a grouping, followed by five windows, and then several more to the east. Original drawings suggest that there may have been a door after the grouping of five windows; but the elevation appears to be close enough to what is shown in the original drawings.

The east elevation, more utilitarian and not meant to be seen from the street, now includes several newer service doors.

Detail for 5000 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 3573700406 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Transportation - Road- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Slight
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 5000 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 3573700406 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Feb 28, 2010
App v2.0.1.0