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Summary for 8517-8519 Aurora AVE / Parcel ID 6046400805 / Inv # AU004

Historic Name: Sun Hill Motel Common Name: Sun Hill Motor Inn
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Aurora-Licton
Built By: Year Built: 1938
Despite its alterations, this building is significant as one of the city's best examples of an early motel. Although cladding and windows have been updated, it still retains much of its original plan and character. With the opening of the George Washington Bridge and the speedway through Woodland Park in 1932, Aurora Avenue North became a major highway, part of the national highway system's Pacific Highway, extending from Canada to Mexico. Accordingly, the road quickly came to be lined with businesses catering to tourists, particularly motels and cafes. The earliest facilities were literally camps where auto travelers could camp in a tent; these first appeared in the Seattle directory in 1928. Soon afterwards, small cottages with carports were provided; these were known as auto courts. By 1932, five auto courts on Aurora were listed in the Seattle directory. As land became more valuable, the original garage spaces were filled in for more units, with cars parked along the side or in the center of a U-shaped building like this one. Most of these early motels have been either demolished of completely redeveloped. This motel shows typical changes over time. The Sun Hill Auto Court opened in 1938, with four "auto cabins," side-gabled bungalows connected by garages, and with gabled hoods over the individual entries. In 1953 the garages were enclosed for additional rooms and permastone cladding was added on the front of the cabins. About 1970 matching cabins were built on the south side, making a U-shaped building.
This motel has a U-shaped plan with an exit drive at the west end of the north side. The units, even those in the newer section, have the appearance of almost-separate side-gabled cottages with two units each. The cottages step up the slope toward the west with each roof slightly higher than the one to the east. Each unit has a gabled hood over a concrete stoop with wrought iron railing. The north (older) row of cabins has permastone cladding added in the 1950s, with vinyl siding on the north elevation. Cabins on the south side have wide clapboard with brick below the windows. The trim has recently been painted bright pink. Windows have been modernized with black aluminum sliders.

Detail for 8517-8519 Aurora AVE / Parcel ID 6046400805 / Inv # AU004

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Stone, Veneer - Permastone, Veneer- Vinyl Siding, Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Domestic - Hotel Plan: U-Shape
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Sheridan, Mimi and Carol Tobin. Licton Springs History, 2001.

Photo collection for 8517-8519 Aurora AVE / Parcel ID 6046400805 / Inv # AU004

Photo taken Nov 12, 2001

Photo taken Nov 12, 2001

Photo taken Nov 12, 2001
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