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Pike/Pine Landmark Designation

Two Pike/Pine Auto Row buildings up for Landmark designation in January

The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board (LPB) will be deciding whether to designate two Auto Row buildings in the Pike/Pine neighborhood at two upcoming meetings. First up for consideration at the January 7, 2015 LPB meeting is the Kelly-Springfield building (1525 11th Avenue), constructed in 1917 and used originally for truck sales and service, and tire sales and service. The property was nominated at the November 19, 2014 LPB meeting.

The second property, the White Motor Company building (1021 E Pine St; built 1917-1918), is scheduled for a designation hearing at the January 21, 2015 LPB meeting. It was originally an automobiles sales and office. The property was nominated at the December 17, 2014 LPB meeting.

Both buildings were designed by Seattle architect Julian Everett.

Why are these buildings significant?

The buildings are associated in significant ways with the history and development of Auto Row and the two connected buildings were the original home of outdoor retailer REI. The buildings are also significant for their architectural style and period. Additionally, the White Motor Company building is prominently located on a key corner of the Pike/Pine neighborhood and is an easily identifiable visual feature of the community.

Advocacy efforts

History has shown former Auto Row buildings to be good candidates for adaptive reuse, particularly for locally-owned businesses. They are more than just old brick or terra cotta facades. They are also defined by the interior volume of space and heavy timber features. These buildings add greatly to the character of the Pike/Pine community. The loss of this character to another exterior wall retention project (not actual historic preservation) will be their fate if the buildings are not designated.

Neighborhood advocates, along with Historic Seattle and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, have been supporting the nomination and designation of the Kelly-Springfield and White Motor Company buildings. For more detailed information about advocacy efforts, check out the Capitol Hill Seattle blog.

You, too, can show your support by sending an email to the Landmarks Preservation Board or by attending one or both of the designation hearings on January 7 and 21 (open to the public). Learn more about the history and architecture of these two buildings by downloading PDFs of the nomination reports via the Seattle Historic Preservation Program’s website. Comments should focus on the designation standards.

The January 7 meeting takes place at 3:30 pm in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 17th floor (room 1756; this is a room change from the Board’s usual location on the 40th floor). Download the agenda. The agenda for the January 21 meeting will be available the week before the meeting. Send public comments via email to Landmarks Preservation Board Coordinator Sarah Sodt at  by 5 pm today (January 6) or attend the meeting and provide comments in person.

Photo: 1937 image of the Kelly-Springfield building / Source: Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch

Historic House Available at Auction – Bids Accepted Dec 4 – 7, 2013

2016 14th Ave W in 1937 (top) and 2013 (bottom). Sources: Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch (historic photo); King County Assessor (contemporary photo)

The Gilman House, 2016 14th Ave W, in 1937 (top) and 2013 (bottom). Sources: Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch (historic photo); King County Assessor (contemporary photo)


The historic Gilman House (built ca. 1891), a designated Seattle Landmark located at 2016 14th Ave W in Interbay/west slope of Queen Anne, is being auctioned off this week through Bidding starts December 4 and ends December 7, 2013, with a starting bid at $225,000. It is part of the 14th Avenue West Houses Group that was designated a landmark in 1978. Historic Seattle holds a preservation easement on the houses, including the Gilman House. The property was recently foreclosed and Chase Bank is putting it up for auction.

The houses are described in and in this Queen Anne News article.

Historic Seattle seeks your help to spread the word about the auction in the hopes that a preservation-friendly buyer puts in a successful bid on the Gilman House. 

Please Support the Seattle Landmark Nomination of an Important Modernist Site

Battelle/Talaris campus / Photo: Marissa Natkin, copyright 2011

Battelle/Talaris campus / Photo: Marissa Natkin, copyright 2011

At its September 18, 2013 meeting, the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board (LPB) will consider the landmark nomination of the former Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) Seattle Research Center site located at 4000 NE 41st St. in Seattle’s Laurelhurst neighborhood.

Historic Seattle supports the nomination of the property and we ask you to show your support through written comments to the Landmarks Preservation Board and/or provide public testimony in person at the meeting. The Wednesday, September 18 meeting begins at 3:30 PM in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 40th Floor in Room 4060. An agenda will be posted on the Seattle Historic Preservation website. Send written comments by Monday, September 16, 2013 to:


Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
c/o Erin Doherty, Landmarks Preservation Board Coordinator

Or by Mail:

Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board
Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods
P.O. Box 94649
Seattle, WA  98124-4649

Prompted by concerns for proposed future redevelopment plans for the site, the Friends of Battelle/Talaris (FOBT) formed to produce the landmark nomination report. FOBT is a grassroots group of Laurelhurst neighbors who have come together as advocates for the preservation of the Battelle Memorial Institute Seattle Research Center/Talaris Conference Center. Historic Seattle has been providing technical assistance and advice on landmark nomination preparation, research and advocacy strategy for the Friends of Battelle/Talaris.

The 18-acre property is owned by 4000 Property LLC. The site is currently used as the Talaris Conference Center. For more information about recent redevelopment proposals, go to the Talaris Living website. (more…)

Advocacy Alert: Support Preservation in South Lake Union

Designated Seattle Landmark Troy Laundry Building at Fairview and Thomas, South Lake Union. The block that it sits on is planned for redevelopment.

Designated Seattle Landmark Troy Laundry Building at the northeast corner of Fairview Ave N and Thomas St, South Lake Union. The block that it sits on is planned for redevelopment, incorporating the Troy Laundry Building and the landmark Boren Investment Co. Building. Photo: Historic Seattle

Make Your Voice Heard – Contact Seattle City Council Today! 

Seattle City Council is considering a proposal to rezone South Lake Union that will result in a considerable increase in density and building height. The rezone’s intent is to: 1) help create more jobs, housing and economic activity, and 2) conserve regional farmland and forest.

Historic Seattle appreciates the objectives of the South Lake Union Rezone proposal and believes continued planning for the area’s growth and use is necessary. While we understand the need for increased height and density in the South Lake Union area, it is also important to note that continued massive redevelopment of a historic neighborhood can diminish community character. The 2012 Environmental Impact Statement for the rezone clearly stated there would be negative impacts on historic resources.

Yet there is no preservation mitigation proposed in the rezone legislation. The preservation incentives currently offered in the proposal are not meaningful or effective enough.

The architectural heritage of the Cascade neighborhood and South Lake Union area is an eclectic one. The presence of warehouses and commercial buildings that are indicative of the light industrial history of this area is particularly important to tell the story of one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods. Historic character doesn’t mean only maintaining and preserving individual designated landmarks. Historic character, as a component of neighborhood character, is much broader than that. It’s about how a streetscape, block or neighborhood feels. The most pedestrian-friendly and livable neighborhoods are the ones that evoke a sense of place and history.

Saving less obvious landmarks or character buildings takes more effort. Weaving in the old and the new in a way that considers historic urban form and recognizes the value of the neighborhood’s historic fabric is a more thoughtful approach to development than treating the community as a blank slate of developable parcels on a land use and zoning map. The Terry Avenue Building is an excellent example of the rehabilitation of a designated landmark that has been preserved in its entirety (and incorporated into a larger new development), housing popular restaurants that greatly enhance the community.

Economic development and preservation are also not mutually exclusive. Older warehouse and commercial buildings are generally well-built and offer flexibility for creative adaptive re-use. Small businesses are able to thrive in these types of buildings because they often offer more affordable spaces to rent and have decades-old patina and character that make for more interesting places. (more…)

Support Landmark Designation of Two Buildings in South Lake Union

215 8th Ave N., Seattle (South Lake Union) - J. Lister Holmes Office Building / Photo: Eugenia Woo

215 8th Ave N., Seattle (South Lake Union) – J. Lister Holmes Office Building / Photo: Eugenia Woo

Three buildings on one block in the South Lake Union area are threatened with demolition by a proposed mixed-use (residential and retail) development on 8th Ave N between Thomas and John Streets, just north of Denny Park. Two of the buildings (215 8th Ave N and 777 Thomas St) were nominated by the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board (LPB) in December 2012 and January 2013, respectively. The two properties are being considered for designation by the LPB at its February 6, 2013 meeting. Both nominations were submitted to the LPB as part of the SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) process, triggered by the development proposal. The City did not require the developer to submit a nomination for the third building at 223 8th Ave N, although we believe the building is also eligible for landmark listing.

Historic Seattle supports the designation of both properties and urge you to do the same. 777 Thomas is a small gem of an Art Deco style commercial building constructed in 1931 that has served the community’s automotive and warehouse needs for decades. The International Style building at 215 8th Ave N was the office of Seattle architect J. Lister Holmes, a prominent designer whose work spanned from the Beaux-Arts tradition to the modern style. It is a fine example of a small-scale International Style building and maintains a high level of integrity.

1937 photo of 777 Thomas St / Source: Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch

1937 photo of 777 Thomas St / Source: Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch

The Landmarks Preservation Board meeting is on Wednesday, February 6, beginning at 3:30 pm. The meeting place is in the Municipal Tower at 700 5th Ave, 40th floor, Room 4060, Seattle. Public comments at the meeting will be accepted or you may email your comments to Landmarks Preservation Board Coordinator Sarah Sodt at by Monday, February 4.  The Designation Standards are listed here. Access the agenda here. Download the nominations on this page (under 777 Thomas and 215 8th Ave N).

Notice of Land Use Action for proposed new development at 777 Thomas

Notice of Land Use Action for proposed new development at 777 Thomas

Take Action! Support the Ballard Carnegie Library Landmark Nomination

Ballard Carnegie Library in 1937 / Source: Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Branch

Historic Seattle has been working with the Ballard Historical Society and the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation to support the landmark nomination for the historic Ballard Carnegie Library. We urge you support the nomination and designation of this significant community landmark. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Everyone seems to already think it’s a landmark, so let’s make it one officially!

Attend the Landmarks Preservation Board Meeting or Submit Written Comments

The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board will consider this nomination at its meeting on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, at 3:30 p.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Avenue, 40th Floor, Room 4060. The public is invited to attend the meeting and make comments. Or you may email your comments to the Landmarks Preservation Board by September 17, 2012, by 5:00 p.m. Address your comments to the Landmarks Preservation Board c/o Kate Krafft and email comments to

We encourage you to speak or write about why the Ballard Carnegie Library building is important to you and/or the community. We ask you to tie in the City’s designation standards to support your comments. A property only needs to meet one of the designation standards to be landmarked but it’s always good to meet more than one standard. Review the nomination to learn about the property’s significance. The nomination is posted on the Department of Neighborhoods website under the heading of “Current Nominations.” Download the meeting agenda here (LPB41412.)

Historic Seattle believes the property meets several designation standards including:

Standard C: Because the Ballard Carnegie Library was built when Ballard was an incorporated city and was a key cultural and educational institution in the community, it is associated in a significant way with a significant aspect of the cultural heritage of the Ballard community.
Standard D: The Ballard Carnegie Library is an excellent example of an eclectic style with Renaissance Revival or Neo-Italianate influences.
Standard E: The building is an outstanding work of architect Henderson Ryan.
Standard F: Even though it is located mid-block on NW Market Street, the Ballard Carnegie Library building maintains prominence of spatial location, contrasts of siting, age, and scale. It is an easily identifiable visual feature in Ballard and contributes to the distinctive quality or identity of the neighborhood.


Advocacy Alert! Help Preserve Harborview Hall

Source: Washington Trust for Historic Preservation

Send a Letter to King County Council in Support of Preserving Harborview Hall

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation just launched a public advocacy effort to support the preservation and adaptive re-use of Harborview Hall. Historic Seattle has been advocating for its preservation. We support a project design and plan that meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and allows for the viable use of a significant National Register for Historic Places-eligible property. We urge you to write a letter to King County Council to show broad support for saving the building and rehabilitating it for a viable new use. Below is the alert message from the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation: 

King County is currently working with a local developer on plans to rehabilitate Harborview Hall. An integral part of the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, the building faced possible demolition earlier this year, prompting its inclusion in our 2012 Most Endangered List. The county Executive’s involvement has made redevelopment of Harborview Hall closer to becoming reality, but key decisions are still to come. Your support remains essential for saving Harborview Hall!  Please contact the King County Council and urge them to support redevelopment of Harborview Hall. Download a sample letter of support: Save Harborview Hall If you are a resident of King County, email or write your district councilmember. If you live outside the county, email or write King County Council Chair Larry Gossett. Email and mailing addresses can be found on the King County Council website. For more in-depth information, including a fact sheet and video on Harborview Hall, visit the Harborview Hall Take Action page on the Washington Trust’s website. Show your support on facebook: “like” the Harborview Hall facebook page!

Planning for the Future of McNeil Island

One of many historic resources on McNeil Island / Photo: Dept of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

A message from the State Office of Financial Management regarding historic McNeil Island

The Washington State Legislature has directed the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM) to prepare a REPORT to use to initiate a comprehensive, long-range planning process for the future of McNeil Island during the 2013-15 Biennium. The report is due to the Governor and Legislature by October 1, 2012.

One of the report components is a summary of consultation with interested parties. OFM and its consultant team, BERK, are hosting two open houses in late August that are open to all. The open houses are designed to provide more information about the project underway and gather thoughts on planning for the Island’s future. These open houses will be held:

Monday, August 27, 2012
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Legislative Building
Columbia Room
416 Sid Snyder Avenue SE
Olympia, WA 98504

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Pierce County Environmental Services Building
East and West Meeting Rooms
9850 64th Street W
University Place, WA 98467

Please see this flyer for more information on these open houses. If you are unable to attend an open house and want to share your thoughts about planning for the future of McNeil Island, please send your comments to: Please also forward this on to other people that might be interested.

The Future of Building 18, the “Old Firehouse” at Sand Point NAS Historic District

Building 18, Old Firehouse, north facade / Photo: Lynn Ferguson

Neighborhood preservation advocates, Friends of Naval Air Station Seattle Historic District, with the support of local preservation organizations are working to save Building 18 and seek adaptive reuse solutions for the historic building. Located in the Sand Point Naval Air Station Seattle Historic District (a locally designated landmark district and National Register of Historic Places-listed district) in Magnuson Park, the historic firehouse is a significant contributing resource situated prominently in the core of the park.

The structure is owned by Seattle Parks and Recreation and has sat vacant and deteriorating for years. Its condition worsens every year as deferred maintenance contributes greatly to its decline. It is in need of a new roof and structural stabilization among other things.

The good news is the building is not too far gone and can be and should be rehabilitated. There are many opportunities to turn what some consider an “eyesore” into a community and park asset that serves the needs of the park, its users and the larger community. This spring, citizens listed repair of Buildings 18 and 2 (a significant historic hangar) as the top priority in the Strategic Planning process for the park in the next ten years.

Preservation advocates are seeking broader support for the adaptive reuse of the historic firehouse. They have submitted Building 18 to a new online platform called “Popularise”—a crowd source medium that brings news ideas from the ground up (rather than top down) to find ways to improve our communities.

We encourage you to view Popularise and submit ideas and comments about what you would like to see happen with Building 18. And please help spread the word to get more ideas and support for saving Building 18!

Building 18, view of west facade and hose drying tower / Photo: Julianna Ross

Advocacy Alert! Help Save the Jensen-Byrd Building in Spokane

Jensen-Byrd Building, Spokane / Photo: Washington Trust for Historic Preservation

Support our preservation comrades in Spokane in their efforts to save the historic Jensen-Byrd Building! This significant warehouse built in 1909 and designed by Spokane architect Albert Held for Marshall-Wells Hardware Co. is owned by Washington State University which plans to sell the property to Texas-based Campus Advantage for the purpose of demolition. New student housing would be built on the site. What is astounding about this predicament is that WSU has chosen to sell the property to an out-of-state entity with no appreciation of Spokane’s heritage when there is an alternative to sell to a Spokane-based developer who has a proven track record of rehabilitating historic buildings and would approach the project as an adaptive re-use rather than demolition and new construction.

Spokane Preservation Advocates is asking you to support their efforts by writing to WSU and asking them to develop a plan to renovate the building rather than tear it down. Details can be found on the SPA website.

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