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Summary for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Historic Name: Philco Building Common Name: Uptown Espresso
Style: Art Deco - Streamline Moderne Neighborhood: South Lake Union
Built By: Year Built: 1947

See 333 Westlake Ave N. [Pande Cameron Building – Durant-Star Co./Dunn Motors Showroom] for Westlake Avenue N. – Historic Context Statement.

Built in 1947 as an addition to the adjacent building (510 Westlake Ave N) that was originally built in 1919 and then adapted/remodeled in 1945 to serve as the initial showrooms, offices and warehouse for Radio, Television and Appliance Co. - wholesale distributors. The 1945 remodel and the subject building addition were both designed by architects associated with the initial NBBJ partnership and a subsequent/parallel firm - Bain, Overturf, Turner & Associates. Together the two buildings served as showrooms, offices and warehouse for Radio, Television and Appliance Co. - wholesale distributors. The addition was constructed according to Building Permit(s) #372064 and 378155 at a reported cost of $100,000, the building continued to be used for the purpose of the distributing Philco products (aka Philco Building) – until at least the late 1960s.

Philco was founded in 1892 as Helios Electric Company. From its inception until 1904, the company manufactured carbon-arc lamps. As this line of business slowly foundered over the last decade of the 19th century, the firm experienced increasingly difficult times. As the Philadelphia Storage Battery Company, in 1906 it began making batteries for electric vehicles.  They later supplied home charging batteries to the infant radio industry. The Philco brand name appeared in 1919. From 1920 to 1927, all radios were powered by storage batteries which were fairly expensive and often messy in the home. In the early 1920s, Philco made storage batteries, "socket power" battery eliminator units, and battery chargers. With the invention of the rectifier tube, this made it practical to power radios by electrical outlets. In 1928, Philco decided to get into the booming radio business. They followed other radio makers such as Atwater-Kent, Zenith and RCA into the battery-powered radio business. By 1930, they were selling more radios than any other maker, a position they held for more than 20 years.

Philco began marketing car radios in 1930 and later expanded into other areas including air conditioners (1938), refrigerators (1939), home freezers (1946), consumer televisions (1947), electric ranges (1949), home laundry washers and dryers (1954), and home entertainment products. Their first consumer television set, the 1948 table Model 48-1000, had a 10 inch screen and sold for $395. By 1954, Philco had led the radio industry in volume sales for 24 straight years, selling over 30 million radios.

In 1943, established Seattle architects Floyd Naramore, William Bain Sr. (1896-1985), Clifton Brady and Perry Johanson formed a partnership, Naramore, Bain Brady and Johanson, known informally as "The Combine" (predecessor to today's NBBJ) that continued to operate after the end of WWII.  Bain’s work at "The Combine" included client contact and project management for such projects as the Federal Reserve Branch Bank (1947-50), Boeing Pre-Flight Facilities in Renton and Moses Lake (1956-58), the Scottish Rite Temple (1958-62), and the First Presbyterian Church, Seattle (1965-70). In 1946, Bain formed a partnership with Harrison Overturf and Edwin Turner, which evolved to become Bain, Overturf & Turner and later Bain & Overturf - after Turner withdrew in 1950. This secondary partnership continued until 1970 and enabled Bain to maintain a residential practice separate from the Naramore, Bain, Brady & Johanson partnership. 

Edwin Thurlow Turner (June 13, 1905-October 13, 1979) was born and raised in Great Bend, Kansas and earned a B.Arch. at the University of Washington in 1929. He was employed by Harry T. Whittaker, Victoria, B.C., 1929-32; by George Wellington Stoddard, Seattle, 1934-35; by William J. Bain, Sr., Seattle, 1935-42 prior to becoming a partner in Bain, Overturf, Turner & Associates, 1946-50. He is known to have designed Magnolia Presbyterian Church, Seattle (1948), Kappa Alpha Theta House, Seattle (1949), Irving S. Smith residence, Seattle (1950) during that partnership and appears to have played an important role in the Philco Building project. Turner was later employed as an architect for the General Services Administration, Seattle, 1960-70.


Character defining features: Three-story concrete block structure measuring 50ft x 108ft; clad with concrete stucco; prominent corner location with distinctive curved corner entry and Art Moderne (Streamline Moderne) stylistic features, intact raised parapet and upper floor level band of steel industrial sash windows. Alterations: Modern flat roof canopies/marquees, aluminum storefront windows and doors. Some intact original cladding and decorative metal flashing. This property was renovated sometime after 2000. Original canopy at north end of Westlake Ave elevation (and adjacent building) remained in place prior to renovation. Existing corner entrance may have been added. [Note: The 1948 tax record photograph shows a large “Philco” sign at this location on the curved second floor wall section of the façade.]

This property was determined to be not eligible for listing in the NRHP – South Lake Union Streetcar (EIS) 5/24/2005. See DAHP database – HPI Report dated 12/15/2004.

Detail for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Foundation(s):
Roof Type(s): Roof Material(s):
Building Type: Plan:
Structural System: No. of Stories:
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.

Photo collection for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Photo taken Feb 10, 2014
App v2.0.1.0