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Summary for 213 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800110 / Inv #

Historic Name: Branagan-Smith Building, Luck Hotel, Rocker Hotel Common Name: "Hotel Building Converted Into Retail with Apartment Unit"
Style: Commercial, Queen Anne - Richardsonian Romanesque Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1889
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
This building dates from 1889 and was known as the Branagan-Smith Building from 1889 to 1916. The building was commissioned by Matthew Branagan, a building and street contractor and by James M. Smith, a saloon keeper. At some point, the building may also have housed or have been called the Luck Hotel. By 1918, the hotel was known as the Rocker Hotel. The composition of its façade and many of its architectural elements are typical of brick buildings erected in what became the Pioneer Square-Skid Road National Historic District, right after the Fire of 1889. It also had much in common with the much larger New England hotel, located just to the south of it, particularly before that building lost much its textured brick ornament, its third floor arches and its cornice as a result of the Earthquake of 1949; however this building has retained its cast-iron cornice, all the brick decorative elements of its upper floors and the main decorative elements above its storefront. During the Gold Rush years, this building was also connected to 211 First Avenue South, at the second level. It is thought that 213, 211 and 209 First Avenue South were connected at the second floor and functioned as hotel/ brothels. These connections would have allowed easy traffic between the three hotels. The connections were bricked in, probably during the 1960s, when the buildings were no longer served as hotels.
213 First Avenue South is a simple three-story brick clad building with cast-iron elements. The building dates from 1889. It is rectangular in plan and also has a basement level. It is located between the New England Hotel to the south and the former Parker Building/ Lucky Hotel/Killion Building at 211 First Avenue South. Its only street facing elevation is on First Avenue South. It has a storefront at the ground level and a separate entrance to the upper level floors at its the southern bay. The storefront is surmounted by two floors, each divided into three bays. Each bay has one rectangular opening per floor, but each window area is divided into two double-hung windows separated by a thin ornamental pilaster, probably of cast-iron. Windows and spandrels are inset between engaged brick piers topped by cast-iron plates which rise into the generous ornamental metal cornice at the parapet level. This cornice is fairly ornate and includes fan shapes, a projecting metal “belt course,” and various types of floral shapes. It also is subdivided to emphasize the bay divisions of the façade below. Similar elements adorn the lintel of the storefront below. Another distinguishing feature: the rectangular textured brick ornamental patterns that occur in the spandrels between the second and third levels, (and similar to those that used to exist in the lunettes of the third level arches of the neighboring New England Hotel before the 1949 Earthquake), a common ornamental device found in many neighboring buildings from the same period. In fact, the present storefront, including the metal lintel between the two original ornamental elements to each side of the storefront, are due to a sensitive rehabilitation, done around the mid-1980s (after encouragement and approval from the Washington State Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation and the National Parks Service). The new pilaster capitals of the storefront were a simplified version of the central mullions of the upper façade windows. The pilasters are placed to reinforce the bay divisions of the existing upper levels of the building. The reconstructed metal storefront is inset between two rusticated stucco finished pilasters, which were also restored. Correspondence indicates that a penthouse, not visible from the street, was also added in the 1980s.

Detail for 213 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800110 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Metal, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Domestic - Hotel Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Windows: Intact
Storefront: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
Lange, Greg and Tim O’Brian, “Virtual Pioneer Square,” unpublished manuscript, 27 October 1996.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
Raffin, Melina and Shelley Krueger. “ 201-221 1st Avenue South.” Report for URBDP 586 A. University of Washington, 2003. City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods, Historic Preservation Program Files.
Johnson, G. Rodney, Owner. “Luck Hotel, 213 First Avenue South, Parts I and II,” 10 October 1985 and 18 April 1986, (includes related drawings by Mithun Architects and Stephen Peters, Architect and correspondence).

Photo collection for 213 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800110 / Inv #

Photo taken Oct 26, 2004
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