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Summary for 5421 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 5263301085 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Savage Metal Products Company Common Name: RSC Equipment Rental
Style: Art Deco - PWA Moderne, Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Duwamish
Built By: Year Built: 1941

Plat: McAllister's Add, Block: 19, Lot: 3-10

Architect W. G. Brust designed this building for the Savage Metal Product Company. The building was initially completed in 1941. An addition was made to the back of the building around 1942-1943.  W. G. Brust also designed the addition, which is similar in material and design to the original building. Except for the aluminum frame door located on the north side of the First Avenue South façade, the main façade is surprisingly intact. The back west elevation is in even better condition. Although this is a simple building, it has a presence along First Avenue. Given the fact that this is a utilitarian building, it is surprising close to its original appearance.

W. G. Brust, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, opened his architectural practice in Seattle in 1927. Prior to that time, he worked during the 1910s in the office of architect E. F. Champney. Between 1920 and 1927, he was in partnership with James Stephen and his son, Frederick Bennett Stephen, another University of Pennsylvania graduate, in the firm of Stephen, Stephen and Brust. That firm was particularly well known for its school designs. Brust was mainly known as a church designer during the 1930s and 1940s. He designed the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church (1929), Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (1946-47) and Hope Lutheran Church (1948). He also designed industrial related buildings. In addition to 3200 6th Avenue South in Seattle’s Industrial District, Brust was the architect for two neighboring buildings in the Cascade neighborhood for contractor O. E. Turnquist. 434 Yale Ave North, which shows an Art Moderne influence, was designed during the late 1940s, while its neighbor, more typically Modernist, was completed during the late 1950s. Although Brust may have designed many churches, an increasing number of well-designed industrial buildings  by him seem to be coming to light. This is probably one of the more interesting ones.

By the late 1940s, the Tower Company occupied the building and remained at least until 1970. By that time, the Tower Company Incorporated was listed in Polk’s Directories as a supplier of surgical instruments and similar supplies.

The building is located on the northwest corner of First Avenue South and Lucile Street. The building is almost rectangular in plan, with a main east façade along First Avenue South. It has masonry walls, consisting of hollow clay tile and brick, and is one story in height. The composition of the façade is more or less symmetrical. There are three central pairs of window openings, flanked to each side by a doorway. Each of the end bays also has a window opening. Window openings are typically filled with steel multi-pane sash, with a prominent operable section, framed in thicker metal, set more or less at the center. The doorway on the north side of the façade is a replacement aluminum frame double-door and out of keeping with the original design. The doorway on the south side is original. There is a thin band of brick trim offset from the punched doorway opening. There is also a rectangular ornament, also in thin brick trim, set over the doorway. A thin brick band is also set slightly below the parapet, which on the main elevation, is straight.

The south elevation presents the addition that was made to the building a few years after it was built. The wall of the addition is slightly offset from the original elevation, so that, in plan there is a slight jog. The parapet is also raised, where the addition begins, but the materials and design were clearly similar. There is a combination of window openings with the same multi-pane steel sash and service doors. There are also additional thin brick bands toward the top of the parapet.

The back west elevation presents two sets of paired windows, set to each side of a large industrial double door, which appears to slide from overhead.  Each of the doors include multi-pane glazing. The door is also emphasize by a raised portion of the parapet overhead. Three thin, raised brick bands ornament the parapet, below the raised portion of the parapet. The banding is also extended on the face of the raised parapet. Even though this is a utilitarian building, based on original historical drawings, this back elevation seems to be intact, or at least very close to the original architectural drawings.

Detail for 5421 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 5263301085 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Hold
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Other Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Manufacturing Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Drawings, Microfiche Files, Department of Planning and Development.
King County Assessor Property Characteristics Report, database at --parcel locator

Photo collection for 5421 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 5263301085 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Feb 28, 2010
App v2.0.1.0