||Mill & MIne Supply Co./ Polson Implement Co.
||Contract Fixtures, Supermarket Services
||Modern - International Style
||1953 & 1963
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
This is a good Modernist
example from the 1950s. Although original drawings for this building do not
seem to be available, a variety of sources give the initial date of completion
as 1953. Permit information for the lot, (Block 253 A, Lots 21-22-23), although
tied to an alternate address, suggests very strongly that the front wing of the
building was initially designed in 1953 by architect Ibsen Nelsen for the Mill
and Mine Supply Company and that the contractor was the Rumsey Construction
Company. This is also confirmed by the King County Tax Assessor’s record card.
The building was constructed as a warehouse and office for the Mill and Mine
Supply Company. A subsequent addition was completed in 1963 for the Polson
Implement Company. The Polson Implement Company still occupied the main
building in 1977, when additional air conditioning ductwork was added.
The Polson Implement
Company, originally known as the Polson Implement and Hardware Company, has
been existence since 1885, when founders Perry Polson and T.S. Poole began
selling farm implements in LaConner, Washington. The company later opened
branches in Seattle, as well as Wenatchee.
Ibsen Nelsen was a
well-known architect, who became active in Seattle during the 1950s, shortly
after his graduation from the University of Oregon in 1951. Assuming that he
designed this building, this is a very early work. In fact, upon graduation,
Nelsen worked for NBBJ and then had an independent practice in 1953. Shortly
thereafter, in 1954, he formed the firm of Nelsen and Sabin. Nelsen designed
new buildings, but also worked on the restoration of historic buildings. He
also played an important role as a member of the Seattle Design Commission,
Allied Arts and the Seattle Arts Commission, all of which he helped to create.
His later work includes Arntzen Hall (1972), the Social Sciences Building and
the Northwest Environmental Sciences Center at Western Washington University, a
rehabilitation of the New England Building (Pioneer Square), the Inn at the
Market in the Pike Place Market (1975-1982) and the Merrill Court Townhouses
(1981-86) in the Harvard Belmont District. He became a Fellow of the American
Institute of Architects in 1981.
“Nelsen, Ibsen A. (1919-2001),” in “
docomomo-wewa, Embracing Northwest Modernism,” website at <http://www.docomomo-wewa.org/architects_gallery.php>,
retrieved May 9, 2010.
Marga Rose Hancock,
Hon. AIA, Curator, “AIA Seattle Medalist 1989: Ibsen Nelsen FAIA,” <http://www.aiaseattle.org/archive_honors_medal89_nelsen.htm>,
retrieved May 9, 2010.
“Polson Implement and
Hardware Company, Photo, January 2, 1904 & Notes, Pacific Northwest
Collection, University of Washington Libraries website,http://content.lib.washington.edu/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/advert&CISOPTR=467&CISOBOX=1&REC=2,
accessed May 9, 2010.
The building is sited on a lot, which is located on the southwest
corner of 7th Avenue South and Lander Street. It is also located to
the west of a one-story pre-fab steel “butler building,” sited directly along 7th
Avenue South. Exterior walls are of concrete, while the original interior
structure, at least of the earlier wing, is supposed to be of heavy timber
construction. The plan is rectangular. Although the building appears to be two
stories in height, it actually includes two and three story portions within the
same envelope. There is apparently no basement.
The main Lander St façade faces north. Exterior concrete cladding,
a tripartite division, as well as almost full height glass walls characterize
the main facade. The façade is divided into three basic parts, with each bay
defined by a concrete frame. Within the first frame, the first bay presents a
blank wall. The second bay includes recessed metal and glass wall, set to each
side and above a glazed double-door, also set in metal frame. The glass wall
takes up most of this bay. In the vertical direction, each glazed bay includes
a long rectangle of glass, set above a concrete base. This is topped by a
smaller rectangle, which, in turn is topped by another long rectangle of glass,
of roughly the same height as the lower pane. This configuration of glazing is
also repeated in the east portion of the third bay, which is framed in
concrete. To the west, another narrower side entry, also topped by glazing
completes this third bay.
The main part of the west elevation is also divided into three
bays, defined by multi-pane windows, set in metal frames. There appears to be a
lower addition to the back.