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Summary for 77 S Washington ST S / Parcel ID 524780007 / Inv #

Historic Name: Pacific Coast Company Common Name: Lutheran Compass Center
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1904
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The first four floors of the building, originally known as the Pacific Coast Building, were erected between 1903 and 1904, a time of prosperity in Seattle, as a result of the Klondike Gold Rush. A fifth floor was added in 1908. According to a 2003, “Historic Certification Application, Part 1,” the architect was James Donnelson. The building was erected on the tidal flats, which by the 1890s were being reclaimed to create Railroad Avenue, now Alaskan Way. Soil from the regrading of the Seattle’s hills was used to fill in the swamplands bordering Elliott Bay. Because of the difficulty of this undertaking and a dispute over the grading of the new streets in the tidelands area, construction of buildings had been held up for a time; however, by 1902, construction began to boom, creating a new and thriving industrial and manufacturing area. The building was originally occupied by the Pacific Coast Company, later known as the Pacific Railroad Company, which operated both coal mines (mainly near Issaquah and Newcastle), as well as railroad and steamship lines. The Pacific Railroad Company appears to have occupied this building into the 1920s. By 1926 and into the 1930s, there were several tenants, including Seattle Public Employment, which remained until 1938, when the Volunteers of America Mission took over occupancy of the building. Subsequently, in 1941, the Lutheran Church, which founded Lutheran Compass Center, owned the building, but from 1943 to 1945, the Coast Guard were tenants and used it for a communications center and offices. In 1946, the Lutheran Compass Mission and the Compass Center Hotel moved in. They continued to operate a homeless shelter in the building until the Nisqually Earthquake of 2001 caused severe damage. The occupants, including the shelter, have found temporary quarters, during on-going stabilization. As of 2003, a major renovation by Stickney Murphy Romine has been underway to restore the building to full use. Over the years the main design features and building materials have remained intact. Prior to the current renovation effort, documented changes, however, include: the removal of stairs to the main central entry and the removal of steps and individual entrances to the storefronts on South Washington Street. Also, the west elevation, at one time had an entry from the street, which was subsequently glazed over, while the steps that lead to it from the sidewalk were removed.
This five story building is roughly square in plan. It has exterior un-reinforced brick walls, interior steel columns and beams and wood floor and roof joists. It occupies a corner lot on the south side of South Washington Street and the former Railroad Avenue, now Alaskan Way. The building has two street facing elevations, the main north façade on Washington Street and the west elevation, which sits close to the current Alaskan Way Viaduct. The upper four floors of these elevations are both clad in light brown dry-pressed brick, with sandstone trim, while the ground floor level has a veneer of flush sandstone, cut in relatively long narrow bands. The interior lots walls are of unadorned brick. The main façade is divided into three bays. At the ground level, the central bay has an arched entry, while the bay openings to either side each contain storefronts. Each storefront is divided into three sections by thin, delicate metal piers and has transoms. The storefronts are set over a sandstone base, corresponding to the basement level, and a double stone belt-course. The four top levels each have central bay openings, filled by a row of five double-hung windows. On either side of the central bay, the bay openings have a row of three double-hung windows. While the main cladding is light brown brick, lintels, string-courses which sometimes double as sills or lintels, as well as rusticated quoining to each side of the upper window openings are of sandstone. The west, Alaskan Way façade, is also divided into thirds, with a configuration similar to the South Washington façade, on its upper floors. The ground floor elevation has paired double-hung windows in three centered groups. In general, these elevations reflect the interior structural layout of four primary columns at the bay division lines. As of this writing, the east and south walls, which face alleys, are clad in regular unadorned brick and have few, if any openings. The added fifth floor of the east elevation has three window openings.

Detail for 77 S Washington ST S / Parcel ID 524780007 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick, Concrete, Metal, Stone - Ashlar/cut Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Square
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: five
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Storefront: Slight
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.
"The Compass Center, Historic Preservation Certification Application, Part 1,77-79 South Washington Street," 24 January 2003.

Photo collection for 77 S Washington ST S / Parcel ID 524780007 / Inv #

Photo taken Nov 27, 2004
App v2.0.1.0