Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

This application will be offline for Maintenance Saturday Feb 4th from 6am to noon

New Search

Summary for 420 17th AVE / Parcel ID 4232400920 / Inv #

Historic Name: Finlay, H. A., House Common Name:
Style: American Foursquare Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
Built By: Year Built: 1904
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This is a good example of an American Foursquare, one of three adjoining buildings (414-416-420 17th Avenue E.) constructed by M. C. Wark in 1904, at a cost of $1800 each. The house was owned by H. A. Finlay from 1905 at least into the 1940s. A rear addition was constructed in 1926, which may have been when it was turned into a duplex. This block is in Laws Addition, just outside of the core of Capitol Hill that was platted by James Moore. When zoning was instituted in 1923, this vicinity had some multiple dwellings and was zoned as 2nd Residential, which allowed various building types that were prohibited farther north. The Foursquare was a popular house form in the first two decades of the 20th century. Capitol Hill has the city’s greatest concentration of American Foursquares--often called the Classic Box or Seattle Box, because of its local popularity. They were built primarily between 1905 and 1910. There are typically eight main rooms on two floors--living room, hall, dining room and kitchen downstairs and four bedrooms upstairs. A rear addition here allows for a 5-room flat and a 7-room flat. Two reasons for the popularity of the form were that it provided a large amount of space for reasonable cost, and that it could easily be personalized for varying tastes and budgets. This one has particularly ornate wood trim.
This is a very ornate example of an American Foursquare. It has the typical hipped roof with deep eaves with carved brackets and a hipped dormer in front. Cladding is clapboard on the first story, with stucco above. The entry porch, relatively small for this style, is deeply recessed. The façade is divided into thirds with three large wood columns (one story tall), one set into each corner of the first story, and one at the south end of the recessed entry. The south section is filled with a large window with an exotic pattern in the upper section; the same pattern is used in the large second floor windows and the dormer. A smaller window is to the north of the entry. The second story has the projecting corner windows often found in the Seattle Box variant of the Classic Box; these are supported by a very ornate series of multiple small brackets. Between the bay windows is a pair of two one-over-one windows sitting on a very elaborate carved plinth. Windows on the side elevations are simple-one-over-one sash.

Detail for 420 17th AVE / Parcel ID 4232400920 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Stucco, Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Hip Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition-Shingle
Building Type: Domestic - Single Family Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Williams, Jacqueline B. The Hill with a Future: Seattle's Capitol Hill 1900-1946. Seattle: CPK Ink, 2001.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.
City of Seattle, Department of Planning and Development, Microfilm Records.

Photo collection for 420 17th AVE / Parcel ID 4232400920 / Inv #

Photo taken Sep 19, 2006
App v2.0.1.0