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Summary for 527 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 1988200045 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Gordon Apartments Common Name:
Style: Tudor Neighborhood: Queen Anne
Built By: Year Built: 1929

In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.

In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the registration requirements for a low-rise apartment block established in the National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Listing, Seattle Apartment Buildings, 1900–1957..

This Tudor Revival style influenced multiple-family building, known as the Gordon Apartments, is in the Uptown neighborhood.

Architect W. H. Whiteley designed the building for W. A. Gratias. The original drawings are on file with the City Department of Construction and Inspections. Polk directories listed the building as the Gordon Apartments from 1930 through 1975. Advertisements were placed for the new building in the Seattle Daily Times by June of 1929. One such ad, dated August 27, 1933 read, “Choice apartments in medium size, ultra-modern, brick building. Near schools, theatre and market center. Walking distance. Cars 7 or 26. Rentals, $27.50 to $40.” The Real Estate Reserve Company owned the building by 1937.

Originally from Newfoundland, Canada William H. (W.H.) Whiteley (1892–1974) designed many apartment buildings in Uptown over his career; he occasionally collaborated with architect Ronald Campbell. Whiteley and his wife Mildred had two children: Virginia and William Jr.

Whiteley was active within Seattle ca. 1925 through the 1960s. His work included a range of single family residences, small markets, in addition to apartment buildings. In 1932 he served on the architects committee representing both the Washington chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Washington State Society of Architects, along with James Taylor, George Wellington Stoddard, and J. Lister Holmes.

Project announcements that appeared in the Seattle Daily Times from 1925 through 1961 illustrate a range of projects designed by Whiteley. In 1930, Whiteley designed at least five wood frame, brick veneer apartment buildings. These included work for developers Frank and W. A. Gratias, Herman Johnson, F. N. McHolland, Victor Sandberg, and Frank B. Taylor. Most were three-story buildings and included: 617 Third Avenue W (1930), 19 Ward Street; 427 Bellevue Avenue; 201 Roy Street; 2328 Yale Avenue N; 1127 Olympic Way; and 517 Ninth Avenue. Whiteley also designed multiple single-family houses, including a large home for B. H. Whiting of Cincinnati, Ohio in Des Moines (Washington) in 1931, a 1939 home for Thomas Gillespieto at 5150 Latimer Place; a house in 1954 at 3615 81st Avenue SE, as well as a few ranch-style homes.

Iowa-born Walter Gratias (born ca. 1882) was married to Mina Gratias; they had a daughter, Maxine, and son, Gordon, according to the 1930 census. Walter listed his occupation there as a contractor in the building industry and his residence was listed as 8257 15th Avenue NE in Seattle. He was the developer/builder for multiple apartment buildings in Uptown that W. H. Whiteley designed, including 527 First Avenue North, 617 Third Avenue W, and 205 Mercer Street.

This building retains moderate integrity and is a good example of a Tudor Revival-style-influenced multiple-family building in the neighborhood.


City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.

Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, ed., Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Guide to the Architects (Seattle, University of Washington Press: 2014), 2nd edition.

King County Property Record Card (c. 1938–1972), Washington State Archives.

National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Listed, Seattle Apartment Buildings, 1900–1957. (2008). Prepared by Mimi Sheridan. P. 60.

Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890–1996.


Constructed in 1929, this three-story building features a T-shaped plan, which allows for window wells on the north and south sides of the building. It is located on the west side of First Avenue N and faces east. The west side of the site abuts an alley and has a small paved parking area. Two Pyramidal European Hornbeam street trees grow in front of the building.

A flat roof with parapets shelters interior spaces. Rolled roofing clads the roof. The parapet features a peak over the center bay above the main entrance. Sheet metal flashing caps the parapet. An external brick chimney services the building.

A concrete foundation supports the buildings platform frame structure. A solider course of buff brick wraps the front facade above the foundation. Original drawings called for galvanized iron crimp ties every 24 inches on center at every fifth course to tie the brick veneer to the wood frame. Red brick veneer clads the front facade. Darker bricks are used as accents. Window openings feature soldier course headers and woven brick courses, consisting of the darker brick, along the jambs. The parapet to either side of the central bay features a raised rowlock band of darker brick with diamond patterns within this frame. The west facade features the same veneer brick, with tan brick at the rowlock window sills and soldier course headers. Multiple vents project through the brick wall on the west facade.

Windows on the front facade occur in paired and triple groupings. All feature rowlock brick sills and brick moldings with steel lintels.

A pointed arch, cast stone surround wraps the front entrance, and provides a header at the second story window above, and a flush pediment with a central cartouche and garlands and upper round disk at the third story. The main entrance features a wood door with an upper lite flanked by leaded glass side lites. The rear entrance consists of a single personnel door with an added canopy above.

Alterations replaced all the 6:1 windows with vinyl sash and replaced the front and rear entrance doors with the existing doors. Previous work removed a single-story garage behind the building. Work in 1977 increased electrical service to the building.

Detail for 527 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 1988200045 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR
Cladding(s): Brick, Stone - Cast Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition-Rolled
Building Type: Domestic - Multiple Family Plan: T-Shape
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Other: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.

Photo collection for 527 1ST AVE / Parcel ID 1988200045 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Jan 01, 1900

Photo taken Jan 01, 1900
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