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Summary for 8061 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 0625049072 / Inv # DPR068

Historic Name: North Shops, Seattle Water Department Common Name: North Park Shops Office Building
Style: Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Green Lake
Built By: Year Built: 1929
The Seattle Water Department constructed this shop and warehouse building in 1929 as part of its North Shops complex, its first permanent shops and warehouse in the north end of the city. Since 1910, the Water Department’s main warehouse, shops and supply yard had been located south of downtown Seattle on Airport Way South and South Lander Street. Initially, the Water Department had shared the facility with City Light until 1924 when the electric utility moved its operations to their new complex at Fourth Avenue South and South Spokane Street. The same year, the Water Department’s old wood frame building was destroyed by fire. A new reinforced concrete structure was immediately built, and another building was added in 1929. In the north end, the Water Department had occupied a number of facilities in Ballard and Fremont, sharing some with other departments as well. In December 1927, the majority of the property for this site was acquired from three different owners, and plans were prepared for a new shop and pipe yard for the north end of the city. Located a few blocks south of the then northern limits of the city at 85th Street, the large tract covered a full block frontage of 267 feet on North 82nd Street and extended 294 feet south between Ashworth Avenue North on the west and Densmore Avenue North on the east. In 1929, a new concrete and brick-lined shop and store building was completed along North 82nd Street at Densmore Avenue North to house the equipment and supplies needed for the north end. A smaller structure was also constructed at the same time to the south of the main structure along Densmore with a driveway separating the two buildings. That same year, the size of the property also increased with the purchase of an adjoining strip of land 66 feet wide and 158 feet deep, which fronted onto Ashworth Avenue North. An existing house on the parcel, which is no longer extant, was used as a residence by the north district foreman. Two years later, an even frontage on both side streets was created with the purchase of the other 110 feet of the 66-foot wide strip of land, which faced onto Densmore Avenue North. Subsequent to the acquisition of this second parcel, a large brick open storage shed was constructed on the newly purchased property. By the late 1940s, the City’s population center had shifted to the north, especially after extensive annexations north to 145th Street between 1950 and 1954. The Water Department already provided 60% of this newly annexed area with direct service to the retail customers, however additional water storage and distribution facilities were required. In response to this rapid growth in the north end, the Water Depart constructed a larger open storage shed at the North Shops in 1950. By the mid-1950s, the North Shops’ service area covered the territory north of the Lake Washington Ship Canal up to the King-Snohomish County line. Later, the Department of Parks and Recreation acquired the property for its own use. This Industrial Vernacular building is significant for its association with the growth and development of the Seattle water system.
Completed in 1929, this large one-story brick building occupies a site along the northern edge of a large parcel of land bounded by Ashworth and Densmore Avenues North to the south of North 82nd Street. The flat roof building faces north and extends nearly the length of the block face. The building’s rectangular plan has a width of nine bays and a depth of three bays. On the principal north elevation, brick piers with stepped caps separate the nine bays visually and structurally. The same brick piers line the other elevations as well. A stepped parapet covers the center three bays and contains a cast stone "SEATTLE WATER DEPARTMENT" sign over the original overhead door in the center bay. Shorter brick piers frame the large opening flanked by a modern entrance door below a covered transom and a modern window set within the larger original opening. The second bay from the western end has the same configuration as the center bay, however the overhead door opening has been filled. The remaining bays each contain two large window openings divided by a wide brick mullion, which originally contained multi-paned steel sash. Currently, most of the openings have bands of smaller modern windows situated below stucco panels. Some openings have been completely covered with stucco panels. On the west elevation, the large window openings within the three bays have been mostly filled with stucco panels. The outer bays of the more intact east elevation each have a large window opening with three modern windows below a stucco panel across the top. Within the center bay, single entrance doors adjoin a plain brick pier, which divides the bay in half. Covered horizontal window openings fill the upper portion of each half. The nine bays on the rear south elevation have window and door configurations similar to those on the north elevation and display the same high level of alterations. The center bay and the second bay from the western end are identical to the north elevation. However, a stucco panel now fills the large overhead door opening within the center bay. The far western end bay contains a single large overhead door. Three of the remaining bays feature single door entrances below covered transoms in addition to the large window openings. As on the north elevation, bands of modern replacement windows fill the openings below the stucco panels across the top. With the removal and replacement of the original steel sash windows, the building lost much of the transparency of its original appearance. Due to the extensive window and door alterations, this utilitarian building retains only fair integrity.

Detail for 8061 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 0625049072 / Inv # DPR068

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stone - Cast, Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Unknown Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Unknown No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Conservation, Politics/Government/Law, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
McWilliams, Mary. Seattle Water Department History, 1854-1954: Operational Data and Memoranda. Seattle, WA: Water Department, City of Seattle, c1955.
Seattle Water Department. Annual report / City of Seattle, Water Department. Seattle, WA: 1908-1965.

Photo collection for 8061 Densmore AVE / Parcel ID 0625049072 / Inv # DPR068

Photo taken Nov 02, 2000
App v2.0.1.0