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Summary for 810 DEXTER AVE / Parcel ID 224900-0330 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Seattle School District Warehouse/Shops Common Name:
Style: Other - Industrial Neighborhood: South Lake Union
Built By: Year Built: 1921

Located in Eden Addition. Large warehouse and shop facility designed and constructed (by Puget Sound Bridge & Dredging Company) for the Seattle School District in 1920. Architectural drawings prepared by Floyd A. Naramore, Seattle School District Architect for this project (permit #1996634, 22 Oct 1920) are included in the City of Seattle DPD Microfilm Library.  


In 1919, the Seattle School Board ordered the construction of this warehouse and shop building which occupies the block bounded by Eighth Avenue North, Dexter Avenue, and Aloha and Valley Streets. The building was constructed at an estimated cost of $160,000 and was completed in 1921. It was designed to primarily serve as a warehouse but also housed cabinet, carpentry, electric, machine and plumbing shops, a book bindery, and a garage. A large parking or service yard occupied the eastern half of the site. Historic photographs of the building show metal sash industrial windows, a series of six saw-tooth skylights at the northern half of the building, and direct grade access to at the lower two floor levels of the building due to the sloping site. In 1934, the warehouse/shop building was remodeled to make room for the Seattle School District administrative offices, which were relocated from their previous location in the Building. [These alterations were anticipated to cost $25,000-$35,000 with labor supplied by the Civil Works Administration.]  In 1946-48, a new School District Administration building (designed by J. Lister Holmes in the Modern style) was constructed at Fourth Avenue N. between Aloha and Valley Streets. The School District administrative offices moved there and the subject building continued to be used for School District shop and warehouse functions. In 1954, with the annexation of the Shoreline School District by Seattle, approximately 4,500 more students and eight additional schools were added to the district. By 1954 and 1955, an increased demand for additional warehouse space led to the construction of a modern warehouse and shop facility at 1255 Harrison Street. The subject warehouse remained in school district ownership and use as the primary facilities support center until 1989, when it was sold. It has been used subsequently for office and storage purposes. [Information primarily drawn from Landmark Nomination form prepared for 1255 Harrison Street, November 2013.] 


Floyd A. Naramore (1879-1970) studied mechanical engineering at the Wisconsin and transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1905 to focus on architectural engineering.  He earned a bachelor's degree in 1907 then worked in Chicago before settling in Portland, Oregon and accepting an appointment in 1912 as architect for the Portland School System.  Between 1912 and 1919 he designed twelve elementary schools, two manual training schools, and two polytechnic high schools; and he gained national attention for several of his school designs. Facing great demand for new buildings, the Seattle School Board hired Naramore as Architect of the District, beginning February 15, 1919. The subject building (drawings are dated July 11, 1920) may be among his earliest projects undertaken for the district.  Naramore’s first completed elementary school was Highland Park School (completed 1921, destroyed), followed quickly by Edison (1921, destroyed), Gatzert (1921, destroyed), Hay (1922), Brighton (1922, altered), Columbia (1922, altered), and Dunlap (1924, altered).   Naramore's high schools included East High School (1920; later renamed Garfield), Roosevelt High School (1922), and the Martha Washington Parental School for Girls (1921, destroyed).  He was also responsible for twenty-three additions to various schools in this period. In 1924, with reduced demand for new schools, the District allowed Naramore to form a partnership with architect Alvin Menke.  Between 1924 and 1929 they designed schools in Ellensburg, Aberdeen, Longview, and Bellingham. Naramore’s work for the Seattle School District reverted to full time by late 1925 he undertook the design of several new school projects up until 1931. In 1939, Naramore formed the partnership Naramore & Brady with architect Clifton Brady (1894-1963). During World War II, Naramore and other architects formed joint ventures to carry out the major federal projects.  These short-lived partnerships completed nearly 6,000 units of housing, a number of schools and other facilities. The Naramore, Bain, Brady & Johanson partnership, first established in 1943 continued after the war ended and eventually became Seattle largest and most successful architecture firm NBBJ. [Credit: Shaping Seattle Architecture, author D. Dietz] 



Notable features and Finishes: Large 94,500 sq. ft former warehouse building; building and associated paved parking and delivery bay area (former service yard) cover entire city block; building measures 126’ x 250’; one (w/ basement – sub basement) to three story due to sloped grade; reinforced concrete structure; pedimented central entry at Dexter façade; accentuated by prominent structural piers and recessed spandrels; fenestration pattern/window openings remain; distinctive rooftop saw-tooth skylights may remain in place.  


Alterations: All original industrial multi-pane steel window sash has been replaced by modern aluminum, wood and or plastic products; no original doors in place; modern hand rails and ramps installed. 



Detail for 810 DEXTER AVE / Parcel ID 224900-0330 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Other Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Education
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Interior: Unknown
Major Bibliographic References
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.

Photo collection for 810 DEXTER AVE / Parcel ID 224900-0330 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Feb 10, 2014

Photo taken Feb 10, 2014
App v2.0.1.0