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Landmark Nomination Ruth Court Apartments th 125-133 18 Avenue East Seattle

BOLA Architecture + Planning
Seattle

Landmark Nomination Ruth Court Apartments th 125-133 18 Avenue East Seattle
August 2012 CONTENTS Landmarks Nomination Form (1 page) 1. Introduction Background Research Local and National Landmarks Seattle’s Landmark Designation Process 2. Property Data 3. Historical Context Overview of the Stevens Neighborhood of Capitol Hill Neighborhood Demographics and Housing Stock Apartment and Courtyard Buildings in Seattle Comparable Buildings The Original Contractor and Owner, John S. Hudson The original Architect, Willis E. Dwyer Later Architect, B. Dudley Stuart The Building’s Construction and Ownership History The Tudor Revival Style 4. Architectural Description Urban Context The Site and Garage The Structure and Building Exterior Plan and Interior Features Changes to the Building 5. Bibliography 6. Graphics
(Cover: Contemporary photograph of the north facade, and 1922 elevation drawing)

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BOLA Architecture + Planning
159 Western Avenue West, Suite 486 Seattle, Washington 98119 206.447.4749

Name (common, present, or historic): Ruth Court Year built: Street and number: Assessor's file no.: Legal description: ca. 1927 125-133 18th Avenue East (also 127 and 129 18th Avenue East and 1715, 1717, 1719 and 1721 East John Street) 808090-0140 Lots 16, 17, and 18, Block 16, Summit Supplement Addition to the City of Seattle according to the Plat Thereof Recorded in Volume 3 of Plats, Page 125, Records of King County, Washington. Lots: 16, 17 & 18

Plat name: Summit Supplement Block: 16 Present owner: Owner's address: Present use: Original owner: Original use: Architect: Builder:

Theodorus and Olga Ruys 9214 NE Ruys Lane Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 Apartment dwellings John S. Hudson Apartment dwellings W. E. (Willis) Dwyer John S. Hudson Company

SEE ATTACHED for physical description, statement of significance, and photographs Submitted by: Address: Phone: Date: Dave Odegard, Principal Odegard Gockel LLC PO Box 807 Bellevue, Washington 98009 (425) 652-6680 August 14, 2012 Date:

Reviewed (historic preservation officer):

Ruth Count Apartments th 125-133 18 Avenue East, Seattle Landmark Nomination
BOLA Architecture + Planning
August 14, 2012

1. INTRODUCTION Background This landmark nomination report on the courtyard apartment building at 125-133 18 Avenue East was undertaken at the request of the property developer, Dave Odegard, of Odegard Gockel LLC, with the consent of the current property owner, Theodorus Ruys. This nomination is provided to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board for its determination of the building’s historic status in advance of development proposals and permitting. The City of Seattle’s landmarks ordinance requires a property to be at least 25 years old and meet specific criteria in order to be designated a landmark. The Ruth Court Apartments were designed in 1922, and constructed soon after than date in ca. 1927. A small garage structure was added to the property in 193536. While there have been evident modifications and changes to the buildings since their original construction, they are sufficiently old, and appear to have adequate physical and architectural integrity to meet the threshold standards of the local landmarks ordinance. This report includes data about the property, a historic context statement, and an architectural description. The context statement in this report focuses primarily on historic themes and events, including the development of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, the life and work of the original designer, D. W. Dwyer, and the original builder/owner, John S. Hudson. The report provides a summary of courtyard apartments in Seattle and the building type. The architectural description addresses the property site and building, along with a summary of the building’s eclectic Craftsman and Tudor Revival features and the changes that have been made to it over time. A bibliography is provided at the end of the report, followed by historic and contemporary map, photos and drawings. These images include photographs and information about comparable multifamily complexes dating from the mid-1920s to 1930 that are characterized by the Tudor Revival style and their plan layout as outward-facing, single story townhouse structures. Research BOLA Principal Susan Boyle, AIA, and Intern Architect Abby Inpanbutr undertook site tours and research in July and August 2012, and prepared the report in late August with assistance from Andt Wiselogle. Sources of historic research materials included the following:

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City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) microfilm permit and drawing records, and Seattle Municipal Archives (SMA) photographic collection A current topographic and boundary survey by D. R. Strong Engineers

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 2

Property information from King County iMaps and tax assessor’s property record cards from Puget Sound Regional Archives Historic photos from the collections of the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections and Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) Publications and reports about architectural styles and courtyard apartment buildings, including landmark nominations for complexes of a different type, the “Bungalow Court” (Reid Court, Johnson Architects, December 2004) and Charlestown Court (Nicholson Kovalchick Architects, January 22, 2008) Historic Polk Directories, Kroll and Sanborn maps, and the Seattle Times Historical Archives available in the Seattle Room of Seattle's Central Public Library and through the library’s website Information from the current property owner and his management firm regarding the dwelling sizes and floor plan layout, and recent changes made to the building

Research included examination of the few original drawing records from DPD, along with property tax records, and historic maps and photographs. Several site visits were taken to view and photo document the exterior and interior elements of the building, along with site features and the neighborhood context. Local and National Landmarks Designated historic landmarks are those properties that have been recognized locally, regionally, or nationally as important resources to the community, city, state, or nation. Official recognition may be provided by listing in the State or National Registers of Historic Places, or locally by the City’s designation of the property as a historic landmark. The City of Seattle’s landmarks process is a multi-part proceeding of three sequential steps involving the Landmarks Preservation Board: 1) 2) 3) submission of a nomination and its review and approval by the Board a designation by the Board negotiation of controls and incentives by the property owner and the Board staff

A final step in Seattle’s landmarks process is approval of the designation by an ordinance passed by the City Council. All of these steps occur with public hearings to allow input from the property owner, applicant, the public, and other interested parties. Seattle’s landmarks process is quasi-judicial, with the Board ruling rather than serving as an advisory body to another commission, department, or agency. Under this ordinance, over 410 individual properties have been designated as City of Seattle landmarks. Several hundred other properties are designated by their presence within one of the City's eight special review or historic districts, which include the Harvard-Belmont, Ballard Avenue, Pioneer Square, Columbia City, Pike Place Market, Fort Lawton, and Sand Point Naval Air Station historic districts and the International Special Review District. Designated landmark properties in Seattle include individual buildings and structures, building assemblies, landscapes, and objects. In contrast to the National Register nomination process, the City of Seattle’s process does not require owner consent. Seattle’s Landmark Designation Process

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 3

The City of Seattle's Landmarks Preservation Ordinance (SMC 25.12.350) requires a property to be more than 25 years old and “have significant character, interest or value, as part of the development, heritage or cultural characteristics of the City, State or Nation.” The standard calling for significant character may be described as a standard of integrity. Integrity is a term used to indicate that sufficient original building fabric is present to convey the historical and architectural significance of the property. Seattle’s ordinance also requires a property meet one or more of six designation criteria: Criterion A. Criterion B. Criterion C. Criterion D. Criterion E. Criterion F. It is associated in a significant way with an historic event, which has had a significant effect on the community, city, state, or nation. It is associated in a significant way with the life of a person important in the history of the city, state, or nation. It is associated in a significant way with a significant aspect of the cultural, political or economic heritage of the community, city, state or nation. It embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, period or method of construction. It is an outstanding work of a designer or builder. It is an easily identifiable feature of its neighborhood or the city due to the prominence of its spatial location; contrasts of siting, age or scale; and it contributes to the distinctive quality or identity of its neighborhood or the city.

In Seattle, a landmark nomination may be prepared by a property owner, the City’s Historic Preservation Office, or by any interested party or individual. The ordinance requires that if the nomination is adequate in terms of its information and documentation, the Landmarks Board must consider it within a stipulated time frame. There is no city ordinance that requires an owner to nominate its property. Such a step may occur if an owner proposes substantial development requiring a Master Use Permit (MUP). Since July 1995, DPD has required a review of potentially eligible landmarks as a part of the MUP and SEPA review process for sizable residential and commercial projects in specific zones in the city. Seattle’s landmarks process does not include consideration of future changes to a property, the merits of a development proposal, or continuance of any specific occupancy, as these are separate land use issues.

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning 2. PROPERTY DATA Address:

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 4

125-133 18 Avenue East (also 127 and 129 18 Avenue East and 1715, 1717, 1719 and 1721 East John Street) Seattle, Washington 98112 The property is in the Stevens neighborhood of Capitol Hill at the southwest corner of the intersection of East John Street and 18th Avenue East on Capitol Hill, one block west and one block south of th two neighborhood arterials, 19 Avenue East and East Thomas Street respectively. 808090-0140 Lots 16, 17, and 18, Block 16, Summit Supplement Addition to the City of Seattle according to the Plat Thereof Recorded in Volume 3 of Plats, Page 125, Records of King County, Washington. ca. 1927 (King County Assessor records. Other records suggest a slightly earlier date of 1925 for construction of the dwellings. The garage was constructed also in 1927, according to King County Assessor records.) Multi-family Residence (townhouse court with eight units total -- six one-bedroom units and two two-bedroom units) W. E. (Willis) Dwyer, Architect John S. Hudson 13,823 square feet (0.3173 acres), per survey 6,834 gross and net square feet, average unit 854 square feet (data from King County Department of Assessments Detail Property Report) John S. Hudson, John S. Hudson Company Theodorus and Olga Ruys 9214 NE Ruys Lane Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 (206) 780-0835 Dave Odegard, Principal Odegard Gockel LLC PO Box 807 Bellevue, Washington 98009 (425) 652-6680

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Site Location:

Tax Parcel Number: Legal Description:

Original Construction Date:

Original / Present Use: Original Designer: Original Builder: Site Area: Building Size: Original Owner: Present Owner:

Owner’s Representative:

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning 3. HISTORICAL CONTEXT Overview of the Stevens Neighborhood of Capitol Hill

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 5

Capitol Hill rises more than 440 feet above Elliott Bay and comprises part of a long ridge with downtown Seattle and Lake Union to the west. The east boundary is set along Madison Avenue, dividing Capitol Hill from Madison Valley and the Central District, while the west edge of the hill was redefined in the 1960s by the construction of I-5, which cuts Capitol Hill off from the Eastlake neighborhood. To the south there is First Hill and to the north is Portage Bay. Originally platted by Arthur Denny before 1861, the hill saw pioneer settlement in the 1870s and 1880s after its timber was cleared. In 1876 the City purchased 40 acres from J. M. Coleman for a park. The parcel was identified as City Park from 1885 to 1901 when its name was changed to Volunteer Park. To the north of Volunteer Park there was the early Masonic Cemetery (later Lake View Cemetery), and the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery, established in 1895. The City’s original incorporated area of 1869 was expanded in 1883 through an annexation to include the northern part of Capitol Hill including the subject parcel. James Moore was an early visionary developer of the area, which was known originally as Broadway Hill. (The area six blocks to the southeast of Ruth Court, centered at 19th Avenue and East Madison Street, was identified as Renton Hill in the th early 20th century.) Moore acquired 160 acres in 1900, which extended from Roy to Galer Streets, 11 th to 20 Avenues. He re-named the area, and cultivated the area directly south of Volunteer Park as an th upscale residential neighborhood. Capitol Hill quickly emerged as a vibrant early 20 century community. In 1890 the Pontius/Lowell School opened on the corner of Mercer Street and Federal Avenue, followed by construction of Seattle/Broadway High School at Broadway Avenue and Pine Street th in 1902, and Stevens Elementary between 18th and 19 Avenues East and East Galer Street in 1906. Early civic construction included Lincoln Reservoir in 1900, and the Volunteer Park Water Tower and Conservatory, which were completed ca. 1901 and in 1912. In 1891, an electric trolley line was constructed along Broadway Avenue to link Capitol Hill to First Hill and Beacon Hill. The street was paved in 1903 and quickly became a favorite route for cyclists, and later motorists. Between 1907 and 1909, the Puget Sound Traction and Light Company (Seattle Electric Company) extended trolley routes along 15th, 19th, and 23rd Avenues, and the Bellevue-Summit line was added in 1913. By this date the area surrounding the subject property was known as the Stevens neighborhood, named for the early elementary school. (Currently the unofficial City Clerk’s Neighborhood Map Atlas defines th the neighborhood boundaries as 15 Avenue East, Interlaken Boulevard East and East Madison Street. The Stevens area developed as a Catholic neighborhood with St. Joseph’s Church and School (1907-08) th at East 18 Avenue between Roy and Aloha Streets, Forest Ridge School (1907) on Interlaken Boulevard nd East, and Holy Names Academy (1907) at East 22 Avenue and Aloha Street serving as centers of education and religious life for many families. Although the area was promoted for large dwellings, many of the plats were sized for modest residences, and this is reflected in the presence of a wide variety of historic house sizes. Other religious institutions were built in the early decades of the 20 century. These include the former Capitol Hill United Methodist Church at 128 16th Avenue East (1906), two blocks west of Ruth Court, th and the former First Church of Christ Scientist (1914), at 16 Avenue East and East Denny, three blocks to the southwest. (These two landmark buildings have been adapted for residential and commercial office use.)
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Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 6

Local historian Paul Dorpat has cited the Stevens neighborhood as one of the early “streetcar suburbs” of Seattle (Dorpat, May 7, 2001). While Broadway Avenue became Capitol Hill’s preeminent commercial street, business also followed the pedestrian activity and available customers resulting from early streetcar th and cable car routes. “A jumble of eager entrepreneurs offered an array of goods and services on 15 and th 18 Avenues. The ubiquitous mom-and-pop grocery stores arrived first, followed by laundries, dry cleaners, pharmacies, show repairs, bakeries, candy shops , and beauty and barber shops (James, p. 189). This early pattern remains evident along 15th Avenue, three blocks west of the Ruth Court property, and th along 19 Avenue East between Aloha and Thomas Streets, a number of blocks to the northeast of it. th th 19 Avenue East retains some of its early 20 century character although many of the building have been undated, and they tend to contain specialty shops, small office and restaurants rather than the basic goods and services (Sheridan, 2002, p. 12). Housing in the immediate blocks to the south include modest apartment buildings and houses for working, middle-income residents, while the blocks to the north contain many larger and older homes that date back to ca. 1900. These include buildings designed in Classic Box, Neoclassical, Arts and Crafts, and Tudor Revival styles. To the south and west there are courtyard apartment complexes as well as masonry-clad three- and four-story apartment buildings, including the recently nominated Fred Anhalt-designed and built courtyard building at 1600 East John. A number of the courtyard complexes made up by low-scale single-story townhouses are similar to Ruth Court in scale, age and density. And as with Ruth Court these other multi-family dwellings from the 1920s were constructed to meet increased housing needs as Seattle grew denser and more urban. Neighborhood Demographics and Housing Stock Analysis of demographics and housing in the immediate area (identified as Tract No. 124 in the U.S. Census) was undertaken as part of a city-wide study in 1944, based on the 1940 census data. The area was one of the oldest in the city with between 15% and 24% of dwellings having been built in 1899 or earlier, 20% to 33% built in 1900-1929, and 5% to 9% between 1930 and 1940. While 25-44% of dwellings were single family, detached houses, 50% to 74% of dwellings were in structures of five or more units. The housing stock was in relatively good condition with only 1-4% needing major repairs. Average rents were above the city-wide average, at $30 to $34/month (Schmidt, p. 218-254) The 1940 census indicated that Tract 124 was home to relatively well-educated residents, with the median education attained as 12+ years, and 15-19% of residents having college degrees. People living in the area were largely white, and native-born, with foreign-born white residents making up only 10-14%. (Schmidt, p. 102-133). (The racial character of the neighborhood was the likely result of housing covenants that were common by the 1920s. These agreements and later “red-lining” practices essentially excluded minorities from living in Seattle neighborhoods outside of the Central and International Districts until federal civil rights legislation and the City’s Open Housing Ordinance were enacted in the late 1960s to prohibit them.) Employment patterns within Tract 124 in 1940 represented traditional middle-class family aspirations, with 55-64% of those not in the labor force engaged in home housework, and 50-59% of those ages 1424 in school. As defined by employment, the Stevens neighborhood appears to have been a middle and upper income residential area with, 5% to 9% of employed residents categorized as professionals; 15% 19% as proprietors, manager and officials; approximately 35% in clerical, sales and kindred work, and less than 10% working as skilled craftsmen. In 1940, near the end of the Depression, only 5-9% of residents were unemployed but seeking work, while those laboring in public assistance positions, such as WPA programs, made up only 2.0-2.9%. Less than of employed residents 4% were laborers, and only 2.0-3.9% were employed as domestics (Schmidt, p. 155-187).

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 7

The Stevens neighborhood, identified informally in the 2009 City Atlas, was a 13.72 acre area with over 9,640 residents. Their average age of 37.1 was consistent with the city-wide average of 37.2. Household size and family size were slightly smaller than Seattle averages, with 2.0 people per household, and 2.8 per average family, and fewer married couples lived in the area, with 28.7% vs. 32.7% in the city as a whole. Consistent with the earlier 1940 demographic profiles, the percentage of foreign-born residents, at 8.6%, was lower than the city-wide average of 16.9%, and the average educational attainment was higher. The present housing stock in the Stevens neighborhood tends to be older than housing in the city at large, with over 50% of dwellings built in 1939 or earlier in contrast to approximately 30% throughout Seattle. Median rents in the neighborhood in 2009, at $1,010/month, were about 10% higher than the city-wide average of $920. Median annual household income was also higher, with an average of $78,960 in the Stevens neighborhood approximately 14% higher than the average of $68,843 in Seattle as a whole (Urban Mapping, Inc.). Stevens reflected the home ownership data of Capitol Hill, where 52% of residents were renters, and 48% home-owners. Apartment and Courtyard Buildings in Seattle During early 20 century periods of rapid growth Seattle’s residential population spread out from the city center, with resulting construction of detached, wood-frame boarding houses, apartment buildings, and boarding houses as typical multi-family dwelling types. The city’s population boomed during the first two decades of the 20th century with its population of 80,671 residents in 1900 rising nearly three-fold to 237,194 in 1910, and to 321,931 in 1920 based on U.S. Census data. While significant early growth in the city was due primarily to annexations in 1904, 1907, and 1910, growth in the second decade represents an actual increase in city residents, and a corresponding sharp rise in housing needs. Seattle’s residential population increased by approximately 12%, or 41,500 residents, to a total 363,426 in 1930. In the subsequent decade of the Great Depression the population stabilized, rising only 1.3% to a total of 368,302 in 1940. The apartment building as a residential type emerged in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, coinciding with this period of growth. Early apartment types included “townhouse flats,” and “dumb-bell” types with a centralized stair hall, which contrasted to single-room occupancy (SRO) dwellings, often found in residential hotel, and boarding house, or tenements without bathrooms or running water. An apartment dwelling typically provided middle-class people with spaces that characterized a single-family residence and provided hot and cold running water, a full kitchen and bathroom, living spaces, operable windows, and a discrete address (Hunter, p. 210 -12). Apartment buildings featured common entries, but those for middle-class tenants more often featured a sequence of semi-public circulation spaces such as lobbies, stairs and hallways, while courtyard dwellings featured landscaped sites and gardens, and a series of semi-private outdoor spaces, often in a front courtyard or in enclosed or back courts that were accessible only to the dwellings. The units were typically small, equivalent to those in an apartment building, and similarly they had rent rates set to draw single men and women or couples, typically employed in professional or white-collar industries, who chose to live close to commercial centers and work places, and areas of the city with amenities such as parks, churches, public schools and libraries, hospitals, etc. Ruth Court, at 18 Avenue East and John Street, was no doubt appealing due to its close proximity to th th retail stores and trolley service on 15 and 19 Avenues, numerous nearby churches and hospitals, such as th the former St. Luke’s (Group Health Hospital), which was only three blocks away at 15 and East John Street.
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Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 8

A review of reverse listings in the 1938 Polk Directory to Seattle indicates that the building tenants were primarily single people, with six single men and a widow (indicated by the “Mrs.” in the listing), along with the building manager, Mrs. Bernice Dunwell. This pattern of single occupancy continued. By 1950 there were five single residents listed, including several widows, and in the 1960 Polk Directory, there were five single women tenants and a single man. (Tenant occupations were not cited in these directories.) Current tenants of Ruth Court include both men and women including several residents with small children. Studies and surveys of apartment buildings in Seattle indicate that over 90% of the buildings are rectangular or U-shaped. Typical apartments of the 1920s in a court or building arrangments provided kitchens outfitted with a few cabinets, free-standing ranges and ice-boxes or refrigerators, and hot and cold running water (Sheridan, 1994).While a typical apartment building features double-loaded interior corridors, the low-scale courtyard type provides adjoined townhouse dwellings with exterior circulation and private entries, and natural light and ventilation from windows on at least two exterior walls. Courtyard buildings also provided dual entries, with a more formal one facing either the street or a semipublic public court, and service-related, back entries leading to courts and walkways and/or near garages. By early 1925, demand for such apartment accommodations in Seattle exceeded supply. As City of Seattle Building Superintendent Robert Proctor noted in January of that year, “[t]he phenomenal apartment house … development experienced last year was the result of delayed activity in that line, just as now an active hotel construction program is needed to even up the lean years of the past” (Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, January 24, 1925). During this period of high apartment demand, local developers showed great interest in the new market for apartments. Builders and owners realized the advantages of investing in buildings with a larger number of units, providing a greater return on investment. There were also apartment builders and developers, such as John S. Hudson, who were not merely developers but rather investors with long-term ownership plans to manage and operate their buildings. Comparable Buildings As a courtyard building, Ruth Court is a townhouse type in contrast to the ‘Bungalow Court” type, which is characterized by an identifiable outdoor space through which residents enter. Earlier Seattle landmark nominations of Reid Court and Charlestown Court have provided general historic and descriptive information about the typical characteristics of these buildings. Originating in southern th California in the first decade of the 20 century, they provided the amenities of a detached or semidetached single family residence in an affordable small form, with a sequence of landscaped public and semi-private open spaces. In a bungalow courts units were grouped around a pedestrian court, facing onto and entered from the street through some form of a gateway and/or an elevation change. Units often had a semi-private garden or covered porch or front stoop that provided individualization. Many, but not all, courtyard complexes were styled with Craftsman detailing (The Johnson Partnership). Ruth Court, in comparison, is frontal in its setting, with the two wings of the building set back minimally from the street and raised slightly above it. The simple landscaped courtyard is an interior open space, provided only for use by residents and their guests, and accessible only from the back doors of the dwellings or from the private garage and vehicle court. As with the majority of frontal courtyard buildings, it takes advantage of the site’s natural topography to provide some visual privacy by placement of small dwellings above the grade of the sidewalk. Because of the unit widths and individual front entries, which are accessed from the street, the building’s identity does not recognize the collective.

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 9

A review of comparable courtyard buildings is useful to distinguish typical and unique characteristics of the type. The following nine properties are low-scale courtyard buildings nearby on Capitol Hill, and in the Eastlake, Wallingford, West Seattle and Fremont neighborhoods. All of these are Tudor Revival style buildings made up by outward facing townhouses with semi-private, shared interior courtyards. Photographs of these comparable buildings are provided at the end of this report.):          Wemberly Court, 3100 Franklin Avenue East (1924), designed by Howard Riley) Berg Court, 1804 Spruce Street (1924), designed by William Whiteley 4402-4404 Densmore Avenue North (1925) in Wallingford Edgar Court, 2704 Eastlake Avenue East (1925) by Albert A. Geiser for C. O. Montague 1300 East Mercer Street (1926) th 1615-1619 E Thomas Street (1927, also cited as 219-221-223 17 Avenue East) th Rosina Court (1928), 1101-09 18 Avenue in the Central District, designed by William H. th Whiteley for Stephen Berg (listed as 1801 18 Avenue in the City’s historic survey website). Essex Apartments (1928), 4200 Southwest Manning Street in West Seattle (one of three buildings, in a larger three-quarter block complex) th 1701 North 48 Street (1930), designed by Harry B. McKnight for Jessie S. Richards

As previously noted, the location of the property purchased for the construction of Ruth Court may have been selected due to its close proximity to trolley lines (and later bus routes), and in response to zoning requirements. A series of wood-frame garages were added to the courtyard assembly site around 1935, according to permit drawings. Even though Seattle’s early land use codes did not require off-street on-site parking until the early 1950s, the provision of on-site parking reflected the owner’s sense of the residents’ needs, and the rise in private vehicle ownership by this date. The garages, along with the unit sizes and finishes and the building’s style, appear to have been built for middle-class residential tenants. The Original Contractor and Owner, John S. Hudson (1879 – 1945) Original design drawings from September 1922 on file at DPD cite John S. Hudson as the owner of the White Court Apartments (later named Ruth Court) and Willis (W. E.) Dwyer as the architect. John S. Hudson was a Seattle builder, businessman, and apartment building owner. He was born in Burbank or New London, Minnesota (citations differ), and grew up on his family's farm. Hudson graduated from a public high school in Minnesota, where he had taken drafting courses. He moved to Seattle in 1903 at the age of 24, and began working as a contractor that year. He returned to school to study architecture in 1910 and later received his Washington State architectural license in 1921. John S. Hudson initially formed a design and construction firm with his brother Harry E. Hudson (1881–1963). Harry moved to Seattle in 1904, a year after his brother, and apparently began working with him. The Hudson Bros. were responsible for the construction of five bungalow dwellings north of Woodland Park in 1912 (Bungalow Magazine, September 1912, p. 25–30, cited in Kreisman and Mason, p. 113). According to one citation, the firm of Hudson and Hudson dissolved when Harry left to establish his own separate business in 1920 (Architecture and Engineering, October 1920, p. 57). The Polk Directory to Seattle listed the Hudson Bros., however, with John Hudson as its president until 1927, while also citing John S. Hudson as the president of his own company beginning in 1926. (Harry and John Hudson continued working with one another throughout the 1920s. According to a Seattle Times obituary of August 29, 1963, Harry Hudson was a partner in Gibbs and Hudson for 30 years, and a member of the AIA and a number of fraternal groups before his death in 1963.)

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 10

The subject building was designed by architect W. E. (Willis) Dwyer, according to a sketched set of plans and elevations on file at DPD dating from 1922. Dwyer had previously designed a $72,000, 32-unit apartment for John S. Hudson, which was constructed in 1923 as one of Hudson’s earliest ventures as a developer/contractor. The building consisted of two- and three-room units in a brick and cast stone-clad structure. At the time it was cited as "thoroughly modern and completely equipped down to the last detail, including the wireless receiving sets [radios] in each apartment" (Bagley, p. 64–68). Other buildings that John Hudson constructed included a $48,000, 20-suite building at 419 East Thomas Street; a brick garage at 1525-1527 Boren Avenue; and Sealth Vista, a "fine apartment building" with 38 units at 203 Belmont Avenue (East), built in 1924 on the corner of Olive Way and John Street, which Hudson also owned. A description of Sealth Vista noted it provided "a glorious view of the city, Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains,” with modern amenities including "electric stoves, wall beds, electric laundry dryers and the best of plumbing and hardwood floors” (Hanford, p. 67). John S. Hudson is credited as builder of the Roxbury Apartments at 20th and Pine Street, and a 36-unit th apartment building at 13 and Howell Street, and the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority near the University of Washington and the Summit Avenue Garage at 225 Summit Avenue. In addition, Hudson developed and built a number of large apartment buildings on Seattle’s First Hill. Nearly all of John Hudson's apartment buildings were named based on traditions and people of New England, and they featured English and North American revival styles such as Tudor, Colonial, Gothic, and Jacobean, rather than Mediterranean, Spanish Mission Revival, or Art Deco styles. Notably, two of these were designed by architect W. E. Dwyer:       The former Hudson Arms (1923, demolished), a five-story, 49-unit, brick-clad apartment building, Spring Street and Boren Avenue, design attributed to by Harry Hudson The Rhododendron Inn, 1006 Spring Street (1925), design attributed to John Hudson and H. G. Gammond The Chasselton (1925, demolished), Seneca & Boren Avenue, designed by W. E. Dwyer The 79-unit John Winthrope, 1020 Seneca Street (1925) The 80-unit John Alden Apartment, Spring Street and Terry Avenue (1924) The former Northcliffe Apartment Building (1926) at 1119 Boren Avenue, built from a preliminary design by W. E. Dwyer; Daniel R. Huntington, architect of record

Hudson’s buildings were typically outfitted with quality furnishings and finish materials. In particular, the Northcliffe and Chasselton apartment buildings on First Hill were recognized for their innovative design (Seattle Times, July 25, 1925). His construction company was sufficiently regarded that subcontractors and materials suppliers advertised their involvement in its projects. John Hudson lived at 906 North 79th Street from ca. 1905 to 1920, and briefly resided in the Hudson Arms and Northcliffe Apartment buildings, according to Polk Directories. The directories from the 1920s th also indicate that Hudson and his wife, Katie M. Carey, and daughter Ruth, resided at 117 – 19 Avenue East, one block east of the Ruth Court. From 1922-30 Hudson’s business was located in 758 and 760 the Empire Building. Hudson served on the King County Planning Commission, Seattle City Mortgage Relief Commission, Board of Eminent Domain, and Home Owners' Loan Association, and was at one time president of the Washington State Society of Architects. A strong advocate and member of the Cascade Tunnel Association, he also spoke publicly at Chamber of Commerce meetings across the state in the mid-1930s

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 11

in favor of the Grand Coulee dam project. He was also affiliated with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks (Pasco Herald, October 8, 1936). John S. Hudson died in Seattle in October 1945 at the age of 66. The Original Architect, Willis E. Dwyer (1878 – 1924) W. E. Dwyer was the architect responsible for the original design of the “White Court Apartments,” the name cited in 1922 drawings for the building. Dwyer received his Washington State architectural license (No. 46) on December 13, 1919 at the age of 41, and had a relatively short professional career due to an untimely death in 1924. According to newspaper articles daring from the early 1920s, he was “credited with having designed some of Seattle’s most attractive apartments and residents” (Seattle Daily Times, October 21, 1923). Washington State Death records list Dwyer’s parents, Francis Dwyer and Marry Gifford, along with his wife, Edith L. Dwyer, but little other information about him. Dwyer apparently worked as a builder and designer before gaining his state architectural license. The course of his career can be pieced together somewhat by listings in the Polk Directory to Seattle. In the 1895 edition he was listed for the first time (at the age of 15) with his employment noted as a carpenter for Mills Randall & Company. Five years later, in 1900, he was cited as a “Contractor and Builder,” apparently working for himself, and a decade later he was listed as an architect. This citation was changed back to building contractor in 1915, but Dwyer was noted as architect again in Directories dating from 1920 through 1924, the last year he was listed. Dwyer’s early projects were residences. In 1900 he was identified as the contractor for houses at 202 14 st Avenue North, 128 1 Avenue (North), and 1310 Valley Street (Seattle Times). He also designed a number of large residences in the north Capitol Hill neighborhood of Roanoke Park during 1909-12 (Roanoke Park Historic District NRHP Nomination, p. 23-24, 35, 71 and 99), which represent the range of his design skills:      2722 Broadway Avenue East, a Tudor Revival style house for Samuel and Margaret Hayes (1910), which was designed by architects Bertrand & Chamberlain, and built by Dwyer 2716 Broadway Avenue East, a 1912 Arts and Crafts style house for contractor Gustav Olson, the Brown Residence/Vedanta Society of Western Washington House, designed by Dwyer th 2721 10 Avenue East, a 1910 house for F. B. Finley, designed by Dwyer 2818 Broadway Avenue East, a 1909-10 Craftsman style house, also for F. B. Finely, designed by Dwyer 812 East Shelby Street, the Mifflin Residence, a 1909 American Four-Square style house, designed by Dwyer for owner/builder Eric Almquist
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In 1912 Dwyer also designed a home for Dr. W. D. Merritt at 1171 East Boston Street in the Broadway District, which was featured in the Seattle Sunday Times. Local historian Walt Crowley cited Dwyer as the designer of the 1914 Fairmount Hotel at the northwest corner of Stewart Street and 1st Avenue near the Pike Place Market (Crowley, p. 88). Later buildings designed by Dwyer include the aforementioned 32-unit apartment house at the corner of Federal Avenue and Harrison Street (1923, demolished), designed for contractor John S. Hudson. Built for $72,000, this building may have initiated Hudson’s focus on apartment building construction (Bagley, p. 64-69). Dwyer was prolific in 1923-24, when he designed the following buildings, according to bid notices or articles in the Seattle Daily Times:

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning  

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 12

3008 Harvard Avenue Apartments for owner and general contractor C. F. Martin, a 105’ by 67’ three-story building, constructed for approximately $60,000 (May 5, 1923 notice) A movie theater in Georgetown at 5623 Duwamish Avenue (later named Airport Way South) for owner W. A. Peterson (L. J. Hellenthul, Contractor). The building was built for $35,000 along with a 100’ by 40’ brick masonry garage (September 9, 1923 notice) New Sealth Apartments, the previously mentioned building at 203 Belmont Avenue at the intersection of Belmont and John Street on Capitol Hill for owner/contractor John S Hudson. This 32-unit three-story, brick- and cast stone-clad building “featured a heavy English-type leaded glass door” with units that contained “dressing tables, dressers, (Westinghouse) automatic electric ranges, refrigerators, hardwood floors, wall beds and beautiful and artistic lighting fixtures… walls covered with tapestry wall paper and woodwork (of) ivory enamel … oil burners (heat)” along with “Murphy beds, millwork by Eckloff & Company” according to an article upon its completion in October 1923. Washington Irving Apartments, (“Mr. Hudson is now building another fine apartment house,” th citation in Oct. 21, 1923 article on New Sealth apt.) the 13 Avenue (East) and East Howell Street, at an approximate cost of $175,000 (completed February 1924). A four-story, 120’ by 95’, 114 room apartment house for Stephen Berg, which was cited in a January 2, 1924 announcement as the second largest apartment building in the city. The construction cost of the building, along with a 30-car fire-proof garage on the back, was estimated $568,000. The building’s designer was the architectural firm of Stuart and Wheatley. Stuart was responsible for the design of the Ruth Court garage.

In the 1923-24 Polk Directories, Dwyer’s office address at 758 and 760 Empire Building was the same as John S. Hudson’s. The two men worked closely together and may have had a business relationship. The previously cited Northcliffe Apartments, at the corner of Boren Avenue and Seneca Street (demolished), was designed by Dwyer for Hudson. Plans for the $400,000 apartment house were underway, according to a newspaper article of March 16, 1924, about month before Dwyer’s death. The project’s design was completed by Daniel Huntington, the architect of record. Later Architect, B. Dudley Stuart (1885 – 1977) The 1935 garage addition to the property was designed by Bertram (B. Dudley) Stuart according to design drawings on file at DPD that date from that year. (The 1937 King County Assessor’s records list its construction date as 1927.) Stuart may be a better known architect than Dwyer, having had a longer career and more built work. Born in London, Stuart practiced architecture in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Edmonton, Alberta, before coming to Seattle. The Polk Directory of Seattle cited Stuart as an architect initially in1918. He worked as a sole practitioner from 1918 – 1924, and established a partnership with architect Arthur Wheatley in 1925 – 1930, with a focus on apartment buildings and hotels. The firm’s work included a number of well-executed designs for tall residential buildings on First Hill: the Highland (1924), Rundecliffe (1925), Exeter House (1927), Marlborough Apartments (1926-27), Claremont Apartment Hotel (1925), Continental/Earl Hotel (1926) and Biltmore Apartments (1924-25), along with the Bergonian / Mayflower Hotel (1927). (Dates cited are from City of Seattle historic survey inventory forms.) A number of these buildings were projects for a local real estate investor, Steven Berg. These

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 13

reinforced concrete buildings were finished with brick and terra cotta veneer decoration, and featured Italian Renaissance or Tudor Revival styles. Stuart also designed smaller scale apartments and commercial buildings. In 1935, when he designed the garage for Ruth Court, he was the principal of B. Dudley Stuart, Architect (1930-1941). In 1941-45 he worked in partnership with architects Paul Kirk and Robert Durham. High Point Elementary School in West Seattle (1945) was a late project by this firm. Stuart continued to work as an architect after 1945 until his retirement, due to failing eyesight, in 1971. He died in Seattle in 1977 at the age of 96. (B. Dudley Stuart is sometimes credited with the design of the Art Deco style Seattle Fire Station No. 6, rd at 23 and Yesler Street, but that attribution is incorrect, as the actual designer was architect George Stewart.) The Building's Construction and Ownership History The building was apparently constructed as an investment, and appears to have served as such throughout the past 87 years. According to the original permit drawings on file at the Department of Planning and Development, the building design dates from September 1922. John S. Hudson was the original developer/contractor and owner of the building, which was named for his daughter, Ruth. Reportedly Hudson and his family lived in the subject building, which was cited as “White Court” in the original th design drawings. (Polk Directories from this period cite their residence as 117 -19 Avenue East.) Kroll maps of 1912-1920 indicate there was an earlier wood-frame building on the three-lot site, prior to construction of the subject building, with a footprint that suggests a large residence. City of Seattle permit drawings for the construction of Ruth Court have not been found, but according to the King County Tax Assessor, the building dates from 1927. An article in the Seattle Times from March 14, 1928, indicates the building was sold by John S. Hudson to Peter Benson at that time. The fee owner cited in the 1937 property record card was Prudential Ins. Company, as of November 21, 1935. Later owners or contract purchasers cited in the King County Tax Assessor’s records included M. L. Kingston, as of May 1, 1946; E. H. Kollmar, as of November 21, 1947; Ruth Courtland as of September 3, 1952; and Charles A. Gate as of June 29, 1961. On several King County Tax Assessor records, dating from 1980 through 1993, the building is noted as “Ruth Court Co-op.” However, this citation of its history as a cooperatively owned building is incorrect. The present owner, Theodorus Ruys, a retired architect residing on Bainbridge Island, purchased the building in 1976, as an investment. The property has been operated as an income-producing apartment building for the past three and a half decades. The Tudor Revival Style Tudor Revival became a popular style in England and North America in the late 19th century through the 1930s, as one of a number of design forms based on European architectural precedents. Although its name refers to the 16th-century Tudor period in England, the style is drawn generally from late Medieval English prototypes and often includes decorative details from divergent eras and styles, such as the Renaissance or Arts and Crafts. The style has often been used for religious, educational and residential buildings. The latter include fraternity and sorority houses, single-family residences, courtyard dwellings and low-scale apartment buildings. An early example in Seattle is the 1909 College Inn at 4002 University Way Northeast. Other

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 14

Tudor style buildings include a number of park facilities that date from the 1930s: the Laurelhurst and Victory Heights community buildings; shelter houses at the Lower Woodland, Jefferson Park, Washington Park, Lincoln Park, Maple Leaf, Ravenna Park, Leschi, and Brighton and Gilman Playfields; and the gate and shelter houses in the Washington Park Arboretum. Tudor style dwellings are identified by the following typical characteristics (McAlester, p. 354-371):         Steeply pitched roof with side and cross gables, sometimes with raised parapets at gable ends, multi-level bays and/or turrets Prominent masonry chimneys, frequently stacked, often terminated with chimney pots Exterior brick masonry or stucco cladding, sometimes used in combination, sometimes with decorative half-timbering and stucco infill placed above brick and/or stone masonry Facades composed in a picturesque, asymmetrical fashion Dimensional massing with setbacks, overhangs and projections, resulting in varied interior spaces Wood windows with tall proportions in rectangular, arched, pointed arch and quarter-round shaped openings, often grouped casement types, with leaded glazing or divided-light sash, sometimes with diamond-shaped panes Recessed, arched-head entries, solid wood entry doors or doors with full-height, divided-lights Stone and cast stone door and window surrounds, roof coping and parapet caps

An architectural publication from the 1920s indicates that characteristics of the Tudor Revival style were more fully realized when adapted to ground-related structures of up to three or four stories, including those with entry courts that reduced the overall mass and building scale (Sexton, 1929). Taller buildings, including skyscrapers of the 1920s and 1930s, were more successfully using the Gothic Revival style, since it was based on historic European cathedrals, with vertical proportions and lofty aspirations. Smaller scale buildings relied on massing and roof shape, decorative elements, and varied materials to recall the picturesque residences of rural England. At Ruth Court these features include the false-thatched roofing (with curved lower edges) and decorative (non-operational) fireplace chimneys on the two primary facades. The townhouse courtyard building type appears often in a Tudor Revival style, and the precedent is clearly the compact English village rather than the courtyard complex in Mediterranean countries, Mexico or California. In this sense it appears that the Tudor Revival style is well-suited for the climate of the Northwest cities such as Vancouver, B.C., Seattle and Portland. Well known local examples of the Tudor Revival style in Seattle include many courtyard buildings designed and built by Fred Anhalt, whose name is almost synonymous with the style. Local developers John S. Hudson and Stephen Berg were also known for Tudor Revival residential projects. Many Tudor Style courtyard buildings on Capitol Hill dating from 1915 to 1930 have been cited in the City of Seattle’s historic site inventory for their significance and potential eligibility for National Register listing and/or designation as local landmarks. Very nearby the subject there are two Anhalt buildings: La Quinta, a Spanish Mediterranean style courtyard building at 1710 East Denny Way (1927), on the opposite corner of the same block as the subject building, and the Tudor Revival style courtyard building by Anhalt at 1600 East John (1930-31), which was nominated recently as a potential Seattle landmark. Also nearby is a hybrid type courtyard building located at the southeast corner of East Thomas Street and th 17 Avenue East, one block away from Ruth Court. This single-story building features a W-shape th footprint, with an outward-facing group of townhouses in its southern wing along 219-223 17 Avenue East, in addition to a deep landscaped courtyard and narrow service court, both of which open northward

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 15

onto the street at 1615-1619 East Thomas Street. Stylistically this building has many more characterdefining features of the Tudor Revival than Ruth Court, with its half-timber and stucco cladding, tan and brown colored brick masonry, tall gable roof forms, ornamental metal, and leaded windows. (This comparable courtyard building and other townhouse type are illustrated in this report’s graphic section.) While interest in the Tudor Revival style waned in the 1930s, it was very popular between the late teens and the late 1920s, perhaps due to Anglo-American affinities following World War I. The use of this style in apartment building design is indicated by over 450 buildings listed in the Tudor style category in the Seattle Department of Neighborhood’s historic survey database of inventory forms. (Even more may be listed under subsets, such as Jacobean Tudor, Elizabethan Tudor, etc.) Nearly all of these buildings date from the 1920s, and many appear to be far more representative of the style than does the Ruth Court. By the 1930s and 1940s the style, known as Transitional Tudor, had been transformed to a simpler form, with lower roof profiles and simpler massing, and use of wood and unadorned brick veneer as exterior finish materials. The Tudor Revival style, which always involved picturesque compositions, asymmetrical massing and decorative details, was finally replaced with the growing popularity of Modernism in the mid-century post-war era.

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning 4. ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION Urban Context

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 16

The subject property is located at the southwest corner of two residential streets – 18 Avenue East and East John Street -- on Capitol Hill. The site is on part of the north-sound ridge, which runs generally th th th along 15 to 18 Avenues. Nearby 19 Avenue East was established as a commercial district in the early th 20 century after trolley routes were set, and it still serves this purpose for the immediate area. 19th Avenue East contains a former movie theater, the Roycroft, which was built in 1925 and has served as the Russian Community Center since 1960. Other buildings on the block ca. 1930 included a grocery store, dry cleaner, cafe, and radio shop. A small commercial building at 1907 East Aloha Street was for many years the Capitol Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library, while a grocery store once occupied 1100 19th th Avenue East (Sheridan, 2003, p. 13). Current commercial building occupants on 19 Avenue East include professional offices, a yoga studio, and several coffee shops and restaurants. Nearby public schools include Horace Mann, adjacent to the Miller Community Center and Miller Park, which cover several th st blocks between 19 and 21 Avenues East, east of East John Street. East John Street runs along the north side of the subject property, while 18 Avenue East is along the east side. The block on which the property is situated is bisected by a 16’-wide alley that runs north-south along the west side of the building. The alley is used for trash collection and electrical power lines, and provides access to the garages on the property, a pattern of use that was established throughout the area in th the early 20 century. The block on which Ruth Court is located and those that surround it were identified as the Second Residence District in the first Seattle Land Use Code of 1923. This zoning, which promoted multifamily housing, is reflected in the many nearby multiplexes and apartment houses. The older apartment buildings are typically three and four stories, although the 1923 zoning allowed for buildings up to 65’ in height. Recent residential developments are denser, and consist primarily of townhouses and apartment buildings with grade-level parking garages. Currently the block and those that surround it are zoned LR3 (and in the Madison-Miller Residential Urban Village overlay). This category is for low-rise multi-family townhouse and apartment buildings with heights of up to 35’, and allows density based on one unit per every 800 square feet of land, coverage of 45% to 50%, and 25% required open space. Buildings are to contain modulated front facades and building depths of up to 60% of the lot. The Site and Garage The 120’ by 114’, 13,860-square foot property consists of a single parcel made up by Lots 16, 17 and 18 on Block 16 of the Summit Supplement Addition to the City of Seattle. 6’-wide paved sidewalks and 11’-wide parking strips separate its north and east property lines from the road beds. Street trees include th three rhododendrons along 18 Avenue on the east and two along East John Street on the north. The site on which the buildings sit is relatively level, although there is an overall grade change of nearly 8’, rising up from an elevation of approximately 410’ at the northeast corner to 418’at the southwest corner. Most of the grade change is made up largely by rockery retaining walls, which are set along the east and north property lines. This topographic change provides the residents with visual privacy from the sidewalk level, as the apartment floors are set at a consistent elevation 5’ to 8’ above it.
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Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 17

The footprint of the residential building is irregular, wrapping around the perimeter of the site on the north and east sides and continuing approximately halfway around the south and west sides. This leaves an open, approximate 44’ by 46’ central court, while the southwest corner of the site contains a 50' by 20’ garage building and adjacent parking lot and driveway. The complex L-shaped townhouse complex is situated with its perimeter walls set back 9’ to 11.5’ from th East John Street on the north and 8.5’ to 12.5’ from 18 Avenue East on the east. While the west facade of the north wing appears to be set along the paved alley, it is actually set back approximately 4’ from the west property line. The building’s south setback from the property line is approximately 2.5’ while the nearby garage structure is set on or near this line. The ample front setbacks allow for landscaped rockeries along the streets, along with narrow walkways and garden spaces near the building facades, which are set above the public right-of-way. Present landscaping is relatively lush, and includes deciduous shrubs and small trees, perennials, and ground cover plants. Entry stairs from public sidewalks are provided that lead to narrow semi-private walkways along the front of the buildings; on the east there is a single approximate 4’-wide stair run, perpendicular with the sidewalk, while on the north there are two, more narrow, winding sets of steps and ramped walkways. The steps are provided with non-original metal guardrail. Paved walkways along the front faces of the building lead to small stoops at the front entry into each dwelling unit. Each stoop features brick masonry cheek blocks, concrete steps, and a top landing at the entry door. A final top riser is placed directly below the entry door. The central open courtyard is enclosed by the apartment complex and an 8’-tall wood fence. Opposite the fence there is the open space containing a concrete paved drive from the alley and parking area for two vehicles, and a small four-car garage. The fence consists of unpainted cedar boards and the original garage doors, which have been relocated to serve as a screen. Landscaping in the courtyard is limited to turf, and small shrubs and flowering plants near the back porch entries and between the residential building and garage. A wire fence is provided along parts of the south property line; the adjacent residential building to the south is situated approximately 3.5’ back from the property line. On-site vehicle parking spaces are accessible directly from the mid-block alley that runs along the property’s west side. The garage building may have been an addition to the original complex. It was designed in late 1935 according to design drawings on file at DPD, and presumably constructed shortly after that, although the King County Tax Assessor’s property record card notes its construction date as 1927. This record card cites it accurately as a bearing brick masonry and wood-framed, flat-roofed structure with a concrete floor slab, interior post and beams, and hollow clay tile infill on a concrete foundation. Presently the garage structure contains four parking spaces along with a wider storage space at the east end, noted as a “Locker Room” on original plans. The garage spaces are each approximately 7.5’-wide (An assessor’s undated hand-written note on back of the 1937 record photograph, reads “Very narrow stalls – not much use.”) The primary north facade of the garage features two slightly projecting brick courses above the vehicle door openings that serve as a simple cornice, but little other decoration or stylistic features. Three of the original 8’-wide vehicle doors, made of wood framing with cross boards across panels, have been removed and are used presently as part of the courtyard’s fence.

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning The Structure and Building Exterior

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 18

The eight-unit apartment building has an overall footprint of 6,834 square feet, comprised of two connected wings that together make up an extended C-shaped plan. The north and east (primary) facades are each approximately 105’ in overall length, while the outer south and west facades are 55’ each (corner to corner), and the ends, which face onto the driveway and garages, are each 29’-wide. The single-story building is a wood-framed structure made up by 2x10 first-floor joists set at 16” centers. Roof trusses support the hipped and projecting cross-gable roofs. A large wood-clad vent and small eyebrow dormer with a wood sash window are situated on the roof near the center of the north-facing wing. Primary facades also feature small shed roofs over individual apartment entries. Original exterior finishes include wire-cut brick veneer, laid in a running bond pattern, along with wood sash windows and brick bulkheads (sills), and wood shingle roofing. Brick soldier courses run above the window openings, while sills are of rowlock courses. Windows and doors are inset within rectangular openings as is typical with modest residential buildings with minimal stylistic detailing. The current roofs are clad with composition shingles and appear to date from the 1980 or 1990s. Portions of the roofing and porch roofs on the east and north outer facades are detailed with a “falsethatching” extension rolled over the lower eaves and gutters. (Reportedly there are leaks from the gutters in some areas, where the roofing shingles extend too far. Leaks are evident from the stains and efflorescence on the brick masonry walls.) Roofing within the courtyard is detailed in a conventional manner. The front porch roofs are typically supported by a wall on one side and a large plastered wood bracket on the other. Within the primary exterior facades there are 4’-deep setbacks that break-up the facades into 28’-wide projecting sections and 21’, 26’ and 28’-wide recessed sections. Entries to the eight individual units were placed at the outer corners of the setbacks, with their doors facing outward toward small roofed stoops and the streets. The north wing contains four units with individual addresses of 1715, 1717, 1719 and 1721 East John Street, while the east wing contains four units with addresses of 125, 127, 129 and 133 th 18 Avenue East. While the overall composition of the primary facades is asymmetrical, projecting portions of the facades, which feature gable-end roof forms, are symmetrical. Picturesque variations are provided: the southernmost, 28’-wide gable-end projection one on the east contained a first floor entry and small attic window rather than chimney mass, and the three remaining gable-ends feature prominent masonry fireplaces and chimneys, which stepped forward approximately 10”. These chimney elements are solely ornamental as there are no operating fireplaces in the building, only a plastered ornamental fireplace surround within one unit. Original front doors appear to have been glazed wood-panel types with multi-lights. Five of the eight doors, including all in the north wing, have been replaced with an inconsistent variety of flush and solid panel type wood doors. Each of the eight dwellings is provided with an individual back porch and entry door, accessed from the interior courtyard. All of the original back doors have been replaced with painted flush wood types fitted with small glazed panels. The back porches, once fitted with glazed windows and some type of paneled cladding, are largely enclosed. Original windows were largely double-hung type, with divided-light upper sash, with 6:1 and 8:1 patterns. Paired windows are set into consistent, 86.5”-wide and 50”-wide openings while those for single windows are 29” and 35” wide. Most of the original windows are in fair condition, although dry rot is evident on lower frames and sashes, and several on the east primary facades have been replaced with

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 19

aluminum windows. Windows into the kitchens have been fitted with fans within the glazing units. All windows are fitted currently with metal security grills The courtyard is a simple, grass-covered space that extends 8’ into the two inner corners of the building where several back porches and entries are situated. A set of concrete stairs on the east side of the courtyard leads down approximately 9’ to a small, 14’ by 36’ basement, which is divided into two spaces containing laundry facilities, electrical panels, and a storage space in what was originally a boiler room. (The original building featured hot-water heat, while present units have electric baseboard units.) Plan and Interior Features Current observations and photographs of the courtyard building’s interior are based on a recent tour of two representative units in the north wing. These observations augment information provided by plan and elevation drawings dating from 1922, and a current sketch plan provided by the owner’s management company that offers a clear layout of the building. The eight units are a mix of sizes, with two two-bedroom (one at each end) and six one-bedroom units. Sizes of the apartments vary and range slightly for the one-bedroom units from 711 to 733 square feet, while the northwest two-bedroom unit contains 1,134 square feet and the southeast, with a small back bedroom, contains 1,065 square feet. The one-bedroom units consist of sets of “twin” or mirrored layouts – three centered in the east wing and another pair in the north wing of the building – along with one unit with a larger bedroom, which is situated in the northeast corner). Each unit has an individual front and back entry, with the front door leading directly into a living room, and a back entry leading directly into a small porch. The kitchen locations, shapes and sizes vary, with placement of either a linear room along the outer perimeter wall with its window facing out toward one of the streets, or a smaller, more square-shaped kitchen near the back porch, where there direct access from the courtyard and back porch, and a window facing the inside of the complex. The two representative units that were toured include 1721 East John Street, the one-bedroom northeast corner apartment, which is occupied by the resident manager, and the two-bedroom, linear unit at the northwest corner, at 1715 East John Street. The corner unit contains a false fireplace within the building, which is placed on an inner walls perpendicular to the perimeter elevation walls that feature the brick masonry chimney forms. This unit like others within the ends, features a small vestibule as part of the entry sequence, while the two end apartments are more linear, with their entry doors centered and leading directly into the living rooms. According to tax records, the original building finishes included maple or oak hardwood flooring, painted plastered walls and ceilings, and hardwood trim, which includes painted cove molding and 8” tall floor base. There were no operating fireplaces in the units though its facades have previously cited false chimneys, placed at three locations on the north and east primary facades, along with false fireplace surrounds and mantles within four of the units. (While false, the fireplace forms in adjacent units are set back-to-back.) The layout appears to be consistent with the original design, with exception of the back porches, which have been enclosed. Most if not all of the kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures and fittings have been replaced, along with those in the common laundry room, as have the kitchen tile drain boards. Painted kitchen cabinets with thin flush-faced door and drawer fronts appear to date from the 1950s, although some original pieces may remain. Floor-to-ceiling heights at the first floor measure 8.5’, while those in the basement are 8’.

Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 20

Some rooms feature original painted wood-framed multi-light interior doors, set in single frames or in pairs. These types of doors appear to have been installed originally in the living rooms, while some have been removed or relocated. (At least two of the current tenants use the original living rooms as bedrooms.) Original features of both dwellings include oak flooring, painted plaster walls and ceilings, crown molding in the living and dining rooms, and picture rails in bedrooms. Current flooring includes original oak hardwood in the living, dining and bedrooms and mosaic floor tile in the bathrooms, along with resilient sheet goods in the kitchen and enclosed porch areas. The original boiler has been removed, and all units presently feature electric baseboard heaters. While the original large, wood-clad roof-top vent remains, the boiler room in the basement has been converted into a storage space. Changes to the Building According to the few available original drawings from DPD microfilm records, the building was designed in 1922 by architect W. E. Dwyer for Mr. John S. Hudson. The original address is cited as 127-33 18th N. (East at a later date), and the original building name was noted “White Court Apartments.” The separate garage building was designed by another architect, B. Dudley Stuart, according to a drawing dated 20 November 1935. Subsequent DPD records are limited to permits for service-related work. In these records the building was cited as 125-133 18th Ave. East, and identified as Ruth Court. The work included a new hot-water tank in 1967, housing inspection citation compliance in 1975, and several later projects for the current owner, who purchased the property in 1976. That year DPD established occupancy of the building with eight rather than the previously permitted seven units. (Eight units were cited in the original property tax records.) In 1977 new electrical panels were provided. (This appears to have been for underground electrical service -- the permit cites “Ok to cover ditch” and “OK to connect service.”) While the permit records are limited, the building has undergone some changes that have impacted its original condition. The following conditions were noted during a site tour.:  A portion of the building appears to be settling, perhaps due to insufficiently compacted original soils. Settlement of the east end of the north wing is evident where slumping is most visible on the north facade at the entry into No. 1721. The large vent on the northern roof is leaning. The building has been re-roofed with composition shingles, which are detailed in a false-thatch style, similar to the original roof, with shingles curving over the gutters toward eaves of the main roof areas, and similarly over the rooflets above front porch entries. Original wood gutters were replaced by metal gutters and downspouts, with a white colored factory finish. Some of the roofing extends beyond the gutters, and there is evidence of leaks from gutters and downspouts with efflorescent on some masonry walls. In addition, brackets supporting shed roofs over front entries are cracked. There is evidence of ivy having covered the front gable-end portions of the primary facades, Luckily the plant material has been removed and damage to the masonry appears limited. Some of the cast concrete walkways above the front retaining walls are cracked, while other paved walkway areas do not appear to be original. Metal guardrails along the steps to the sidewalk do not appear to be original.

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Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning 

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 21

Five of the eight original glazed front doors on the primary exterior facades, and four of the eight porch doors on the interior courtyard facades have been replaced. Newer door styles include a variety of types, including painted flush doors, solid panel doors, and Modern style flush doors with three small glazed panels. One unit, at 133 18 Avenue East, has aluminum windows that replaced the original wood windows. The current owner reported that, when he bought the apartment building in 1976, residents experienced frequent burglaries. At that time painted metal security grills were installed on all the exterior of windows. Wall plates located near the exterior chimneys suggest the original presence of light fixtures no longer present. Original open porches facing the inner courtyard have been enclosed with painted plywood or bead board panels in place of windows and/or screened openings. Crawl space venting has been attempted with holes drilled in the riser boards at the back entries. Garage doors have been removed. Presently three of them serve as part of the fence along the west side of the courtyard. The fence is non-original.
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Ruth Court Apartments BOLA Architecture + Planning 5. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Landmark Nomination August 14, 2012, page 22

Bagley, Clarence. History of King County, Vol. II. Chicago: S. J. Clark Publishing Company, 1929. BOLA Architecture + Planning. “Northcliffe Apartment Building, City of Seattle Landmark Nomination,” March 2004. “The Rhododendron Inn City of Seattle Landmark Nomination,” July 2009. “1600 East John Street,” City of Seattle Landmark Nomination, July 2012. City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Historic Preservation Division Historical Sites Database. http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/preservation/historicresources.htm (accessed July 11, 2012 and August 1-2 and 5-6, 2012). Department of Planning and Development, Permit Records and Drawings. Department of Planning and Development, GIS Map Collection, http://web1.seattle.gov/dpd/maps/dpdgis.aspx (accessed July 23, 2012). Municipal Archives, Digital Photo Collection, http://clerk.seattle.gov/~public/phot1.htm (accessed July 24, 2012). Caldbick, John. “Seattle Neighborhoods: Capitol Hill, Part 2.” No. 9841, June 3, 2011. DRS (D. R. Strong) Engineers. Boundary / Topographic Survey, 18 and John for Odegard Gockel, June 18, 2012. Hanford, C. H. Seattle and Environs, 1852-1924, Vol. 1. Chicago and Seattle: Pioneer Historic Publishing, 1924. Hunter, Christine. Ranches, Rowhouses & Railroad Flats – American Homes: How They Shape Our Landscapes and Neighborhoods. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999. James, Diana E. Shared Walls: Seattle Apartment Buildings, 1900–1939. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2012. King County Department of Assessments Property records for Parcel No. 808090-0140 (available from the Puget Sound Regional Archives) iMaps . http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/GIS/Maps/iMAP.aspx (accessed July 11, 2012). Krafft, Katheryn H. and Alison LaFever. “Bergonian Hotel / Mayflower Hotel, City of Seattle Landmark Nomination,” 2008. Johnson Partnership Architects “ Reid Court Apartments, Landmark Nomination Supplemental Information.” Seattle, December 2004. Kroll Map Company. Kroll’s Atlas of Seattle. 1912-1920, 1940-1960, ca. 2000. Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. Contemporary Plan Layout and Rental Lists (unit sizes) for Unity (Ruth) Court, undated.
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McAlester, Virginia and Lee. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. Museum of History and Industry Digital Photography Collection, http://www.seattlehistory.org/col_res.cfm (accessed July 19, 2012). Nicholson Kovalchick Architects, “Charlestown Court, City of Seattle Landmark Nomination.” January 22, 2008. North, Arthur Tappan. The Apartment Building: The Relation of Construction to the Usefulness, Beauty and Value of Residential Buildings. (Unknown publisher) American Institute of Architects,1928. Nyberg, Folke and Victor Steinbrueck. “Capitol Hill: An Inventory of Buildings and Urban Design Resources.” Seattle: Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority, 1975. Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects, 2nd ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998. O’Connor, Erin, Lee O’Connor and Cheryl Thomas. “Roanoke Park Historic District, National Register of Historic Places Nomination,” March 2009. Pasco Herald, “Hudson Asks State to Work Together,” October 8, 1936 (from WSU Libraries, Northwest History Database). R. L. Polk & Company. City of Seattle Directory. Seattle: R.L. Polk & Company, 1938, 1940, 1950, 1943-44, 1950, 1951 and 1960. _____. The Greater Seattle Market. March 19, 1932. Schmid, Calvin F. Social Trends in Seattle. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1944. Seattle Times (Seattle Daily Times): “Seattle Real Estate Market and Building Industry.” April 21, 1900, p. 13. “Real Estate and Building Review.” June 16, 1900, p. 9. “To Build Grand Stand.” June 17, 1901, p. 7. “Building and Realty.” June 10, 1907, p. 10. “Two New Homes in Broadway District and a Prize Garden.” July 14, 1912, p. 10. “Building Passes $9,000,000 Mark.” January 4, 1914, p. 10. “Local Building Shows Activity.” March 14, 1920, p. 31. “New Apartment House for 3008 Harvard Ave.” May 20, 1923, p. 17. “New Movie Theatre Plans.” September 9, 1923, p. 15. “New Theatre Planned.” December 9, 1923, p. 23. “Two Apartment Houses Will Cost $765,000.” January 6, 1924, p.15. “$400,000 Apartment.” March 16, 1924, p. 21. “Real Estate Leased by V.F. Pavey.” May 10, 1925, p. 30. “Big Buildings Erected.” July 26, 1925, p. 13. “Mayor Slumbers While Fire Rages and Others Flee.” January 7, 1926, p. 3. “Port Madison Auction Draws Notables.” June 12, 1927, p. 28. “Builder Purchases Cooper Homestead.” August 28, 1927, p. 25. “Apartments of City are Nearly All Occupied.” February 5, 1928, p. 33. “Peter Benson Buy Ruth Court Apartments.” March 24, 1928, p. 12. “John Hudson to Talk.” April 20, 1932.

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“Dore Committee Opens Fight on Mortgage Sales.” January 16, 1933, p. 2. “Townsend Split Here Widening.” April 11, 1936, p. 1 & 3. “Architect to Speak on Welfare Bid.” December 26, 1937, p. 3. “Green Lake Club to See Stadium Plans.” October 13, 1940, p. 8. “R. R. Lee Buys Hotel Property.” March 28, 1943, p. 28. “John S. Hudson, 66, Architect, Passes, October 22, 1945. “Harry E. Hudson (obituary).” August 29, 1963, p. 53. Sexton, R. W. American Apartment Houses, Hotels and Apartment Hotels of Today. New York: Architectural Book Publishing Company, Inc., 1929. Sheridan, Frances Amelia. “Apartment House Development on Queen Anne Hill Prior to World War II.” Masters Thesis, University of Washington, 1994. _____. “Historic Property Survey Report: Seattle’s Neighborhood Commercial Districts.” Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Historic Preservation Program, November 2002. _____. “National Register of Historic Places, Multiple Property Documentation Form: Seattle Apartment Buildings, 1900-1957,” November 20, 2008. Smith-Steiner, Barbara, Historical Research Associates Inc (HRA). “Reid Court Apartments Landmark Nomination,” October 2004. Spuybroek, Lars, editor and author, “The Radical Picturesque,” in The Architecture of Variation. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2009. University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections. Digital Photo Collections. http://content.lib.washington.edu/ Pacific Coast Architecture Database. http://digital.lib.washington.edu/architect/ Urban Mapping, Inc., 2011 Neighborhood Boundary Data, http://www.citydata.com/neighborhood/Stevens-Seattle-WA.html (accessed July 23, 2012). Woodbridge, Sally B. and Roger Montgomery. A Guide to Architecture in Washington State. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1980.

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