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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: Maxine Apartments Common Name: Mercer Apartments
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 established in the National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Listing, Seattle Apartment Buildings, 1900–1957, for a low-rise apartment block.

This Tudor Revival style multi-family building is in the Uptown neighborhood and known historically as the Maxine Apartments and currently as the Mercer Apartments.

The building permit (288095) was issued in 1929 for construction. Architect W. H. Whiteley designed the apartment building for W. A. Gratias, the same developer as the Gordon Apartments at 527 First Avenue N; the drawings were dated for August 1929. Polk directories listed the building as the Maxine Apartments from 1930 through 1951. From 1953 through 1975, the building was listed as the Mercer Apartments. An April 13, 1930 advertisement in the Seattle Sunday Times cited the success of the Gordon Apartments as reason to rent at the new Maxine Apartments: “Proof of the pudding in presenting the new Maxine Apartments, 105 Mercer Street, three blocks west of the civic auditorium. We respectfully direct your attention to the fact that our Gordon Apartments, across the street, have been filled to capacity ever since they opened. This indicates the demand for our properties.” The advertisement went on to extol the virtues of the Maxine’s large kitchens, dinettes, and living rooms, along with oak floors, Frigidaire, electric fans, and Westinghouse ranges. Walkability was also a consideration as they advertised that “The Maxine…is just a block from three car lines and within a block of Queen Anne Avenue shops and stores.”

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 a moderate level of integrity and is a good example of a Tudor Revival style apartment building in the neighborhood at a prominent location.


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.

Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890–1996.


Constructed in 1929, this three-story with daylight basement multi-family building features a U-shaped plan. The building stands at the southeast corner of Mercer Street and Firstt Avenue N. The building faces north, fronting Mercer Street. The east side of the building abuts an alley right of way. There is a narrow set back along the south side of the building for service access. Within the U is a landscaped garden court. The front entrance leads through this court. A concrete retaining wall with curved inner edges and a metal railing and gate separates this space from the public right of way. The garden court features multiple decorative shrubs and plantings. Street trees extend along Mercer Street and consist of three London Plane trees.

A flat roof with parapets shelters interior spaces. Rolled roofing clads the roof. A shed roof projects off the east facade at the basement level and is clad with asphalt composition shingles.

A concrete foundation supports the building’s platform frame structure and projects slightly forming a base for the upper stories. Dark red brick veneer with a unique raked pattern consisting of three clusters of five lines clads the building. A soldier course band projects at the third story to parapet transition.

All windows feature rowlock brick sills, soldier course headers, and steel lintels. Windows occur in single, paired and triple units. Paired and triple groupings have wood mullions between openings.

The front entrance features a projecting metal canopy supported on chains. A wood door with a tall single lite provides access to the interior. A basement level garage door on the east end of the north facade provides vehicle access to the basement. A terra cotta surround frames the doorway. A secondary, east facade entrance is located at the south end of the facade. The multi panel wood door with solider course header opens to a wood frame stoop and stairway. A secondary west entrance opens to the sidewalk along the south end of the facade. The doorway features a wood panel door with an upper glass lite.

Alterations include a new metal rollup door at the garage entrance. All the windows have been replaced with metal sash (replacing the original leaded lite over a single lower sash double hung units) with exterior metal flashing over the brick moldings. An added canopy covers the west entrance. Previous work installed new side lites at the front entrance. Past alterations removed the metal balconies that originally ran beneath the center the three windows on each facade and removed decorative steps in the parapet. In 1959 a new sign was added (permit 475600). In 1961 the southeast exterior wood stairway was repaired (permit 489484). In 1962 the building was converted to use as a hotel (permit 494400) and a fire escape and exterior porch were added off the southeast corner of the building (permit 498692). Architect T. Gordon Peterson designed the 1962 alterations for owner John Aoki. In 1965 fire damage to the building exterior was repaired (permit 513359). In 1975 the building got sprinklers. In 1983 the building was permitted as an apartment hotel.

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: NR
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition-Rolled
Building Type: Domestic - Multiple Family Plan: U-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: Slight
Major Bibliographic References

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 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018

Photo taken Feb 27, 2018
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