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Summary for 38th AVE / Parcel ID 2491200590 / Inv # SPU015

Historic Name: SW Barton Street Standpipe Common Name:
Style: Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Westwood/Highland Park
Built By: Year Built: 1927
The Seattle Water Department constructed this 1,400,000-gallon standpipe in 1927 in order to provide storage for the low service district in the southwestern section of the city. As early as 1916, the Water Department had recognized the need for two reservoirs in West Seattle and had acquired a large tract of land in the vicinity of SW Cloverdale Street and 8th Avenue SW for the purpose of constructing one of them. Despite the purchase of the land in 1916, the first reservoir at 8th Avenue SW and SW Trenton Street was not completed until 1932. Previously, West Seattle had been supplied by an assortment of storage facilities with water pumped to them from the two 1911 Beacon Hill reservoirs. Located at 40th Avenue SW and SW Charleston Street, nine wooden tanks, with a combined capacity of 450,000 gallons, were constructed between 1910 and 1918. Around the same time, an additional 50,000-gallon wooden tank had also been erected for emergency purposes on SW Thistle Street between 37th and 39th Avenues SW. In 1919, a new 500,000-gallon steel tank was constructed at 36th Avenue SW and SW Myrtle Street. By the early 1920s, it was apparent that West Seattle had the poorest and most unreliable water supply of any portion of the city more than ten years after its 1907 annexation. The Water Department began a program of improvement in order to give West Seattle an adequate and reliable supply of Cedar River water. This included a tunnel under the West Waterway near Michigan Street, new steel water mains, two new standpipes for low and intermediate service, and a new pump station at 6th Avenue SW and SW Kenyon Street. By mid-1926, the Water Department had acquired a suitable site for a new low service standpipe at 38th Avenue SW and SW Barton Street near the southwestern limits of the city. Completed in 1927, the 1,400,000-gallon low service standpipe added storage capacity in West Seattle and provided more pressure throughout the district supplied by the standpipe. It complemented the new intermediate service standpipe located at 39th Avenue SW and SW Charleston Street on the lot adjacent to the east of the existing wooden tanks. Once the new 1,000,000-gallon standpipe was put into service in 1927, the older tanks were demolished. The SW Barton Street Standpipe is significant for its association with the growth and development of the Seattle water system.
Constructed in 1927, this 1,000,000-gallon steel standpipe is located on a large corner lot at the intersection of SW Barton Street and 38th Avenue SW. A concrete retaining wall surrounds the site, which slopes up to the north. Set on a circular concrete foundation, the squat standpipe has a wide diameter and is comprised of seven horizontal bands of riveted steel plates. The lower four bands have more riveted reinforcements than the upper three bands. A ladder on the western side extends to the standpipe’s conical metal roof, which features a slight overhang and a small ball finial at its peak. Encircled by a concrete path with a gutter around the outer edge, the standpipe has various locked hatches at the ground level. A stand of fir trees along the higher northern boundary of the site helps to screen the tank from the neighboring residences.

Detail for 38th AVE / Parcel ID 2491200590 / Inv # SPU015

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Structure District Status:
Cladding(s): Metal Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Other Roof Material(s): Metal
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Waterworks Plan: Other
Structural System: Steel No. of Stories:
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Science & Engineering
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
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 38th AVE / Parcel ID 2491200590 / Inv # SPU015

Photo taken Nov 13, 2000
App v2.0.1.0