See 333 Westlake Ave. N [Pande Cameron Store - Durant-Star Co./Dunn Motors Showroom] for Westlake Avenue N. - Historic Context Statement.
This well-preserved & highly distinctive Art Deco style building is directly associated with 1920s era auto-row developmental history of Westlake Avenue. It was designed by the Austin Company and built for the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. [Firestone Tire Co.] in 1929. It is known to have been remodeled in1937 and 1943 based on documents prepared by Seattle architect Victor W. Voorhees. Since it was constructed it has been in continuous use and occupation by Firestone Tire Co. and its successor company. Signs visible in 1937 tax record photograph shows painted wall signs at façade parapets - “Firestone Auto Supply & Service Stores” and large modern rooftop neon sign -“Firestone” – oriented toward the southwest (and still in place in 1956).
Firestone was originally based in Akron, Ohio (also the hometown of its archrival, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and another mid-sized competitor, General Tire and Rubber. Founded on August 3, 1900, the company initiated operations with 12 employees. Together, Firestone and Goodyear were the largest suppliers of automotive tires in North America for over 75 years. In 1906 Henry Ford chose Firestone for original equipment tires for the Model T.
In 1926, the company opened one of the world's biggest rubber plantations in Liberia, West Africa, spanning more than 1 million acres. By 1926, Firestone was manufacturing more than 10 million tires each year, which represented approximately 25 percent of America's total tire output. That same year the company opened its first Firestone offering automotive maintenance and repair). In 1928 the company built a factory in Brentford, England. It was an Art Deco landmark situated on a major route into the city, which was closed in 1979. Bridgestone Corporation purchased Firestone in 1988 for $2.6 billion, transforming the companies’ combined operations into the world’s largest tire and rubber company. The operations in the Americas were renamed Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. and became the largest subsidiary of Bridgestone.
The Austin Company was founded in 1878 in Cleveland, Ohio, by the homebuilder Samuel Austin, who had just arrived to the United States from England in 1872. As his reputation grew among the industrialists of Cleveland, Austin expanded to increasingly larger and commercial work by the late 1880s and 1890s, including banks and factories. In 1895, Austin constructed his first project outside Cleveland—the Western Mineral Wool Company factory in Chicago—and a series of electrical lamp factories in Cleveland and beyond, for the National Electric Lamp Association—NELA, the predecessor of General Electric.
In 1904, Samuel’s son Wilbert graduated from Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland, and joined his father’s company. Together, the Austins developed an approach to building which combined engineering, architecture, and construction provided as one service by one firm—a unique idea at the time. The company called this process The Austin Method, for which they received (and continue to maintain) a registered trademark.
The earliest mention in the Seattle Times of local work by The Austin Company occurs in 1923 news accounts, with a description of a one-story warehouse building of mill construction on Sixth Avenue South near Vermont Street, constructed for Charles Frye (now an automobile service garage). The Seattle offices of “The Austin Company, Architectural Engineers and Builders” were located in the Dexter Horton Building. In 1927, a Seattle Times news article noted that the company had opened its thirteenth office that year, in Cincinnati. Other known Austin Co. projects designed and/or constructed in Seattle during the 1920s include:
• Factory for Henry Disston & Sons, at Fourth Avenue S. and Massachusetts Street (1924). This building is now occupied by the Filson clothing store, in the SODO neighborhood.
• Hofius Steel & Equipment Company plant at First Avenue South and Alaska Street (1924-25).
• Pacific Coast Forge Company at 3800 Iowa Street (1925)
• Huston-Swanstrom Building at Fourth Avenue and Virginia downtown (1925). Also known as the Marshall Building, now occupied by the Dahlia Lounge restaurant.
• York Products Plant at the northeast corner of Alaska Street and East Marginal Way (1926).
• Pioneer Sand & Gravel building – 901 Harrison St. (1927). This nearby two-story showroom and office building is a designated City of Seattle landmark.
• Cheasty Building at Third Avenue and Pike Street, a department store building (1927, demolished).
• Two-story factory addition for Nordquist & Nelson, a door and sash manufacturer, at 120 W. Nickerson Street (1927).
• W.L. Eaton Company, Dodge automobile distributors, sales and service building at 1100 E. Pine Street (1927, altered).
[Credit: NK Architects – Seattle Landmark Nomination – 901 Harrison / Pioneer Sand & Gravel – January 31, 2013.]
Biographical information regarding Victor W. Voorhees (May 4, 1876-August 10, 1970): Born in Cambria, Wisconsin; established Fisher & Voorhees in Ballard, August 1904; designed business and apartment buildings in Ballard, 1904, including James Sobey residence, Seattle (1904-5), D. H. Doe residence, Seattle (1904-5); Voorhess is individually credited with the design of hundreds of building projects, 1904 -1929, including cottages, residences, apartment buildings, commercial laundries and garages, industrial buildings and factories, fraternal halls, retail stores, banks and hotels; designed Washington Hall, Seattle (1908), Oak Lake School, Seattle (1914, destroyed), Maxmillian Apartments, Seattle (1918), Vance Hotel (now Hotel Max), Seattle (1927), Troy Laundry, Seattle (1927), Vance Building, Seattle (1929); advertised the sale of house plans and a book of house, cottage and bungalow plans, 1907; published Western Home Builder (by 1911 in 7th edition); supervising architect for Willeys-Overland Company designing automobile showrooms and garages, Seattle and Spokane, after 1917; listed as an architect in Seattle City Directories until 1957; died in Santa Barbara, California. [Shaping Seattle Architecture, UW Press 2014]