Monday, February 9, 2009

Heffernan Engine Works - Seattle

Greg - you might find this piece interesting as I did -

Historical Sites

Summary for 110 Alaskan WAY / Parcel ID 5247800015 / Inv #
Historic Name:
Heffernan Engine Works
Common Name:
Old Firehouse Market
Other - Industrial
Pioneer Square
Built By:

Year Built:
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
This 50’ x 200’ warehouse and manufacturing building is almost rectangular in plan. It has a main west façade, oriented toward Alaskan Way. The north part of the building is a two story structure, while the south portion is three stories high. This is reflected in the western façade (the north bay is two stories, the south bay steps up to three stories). The west facade is clad in brick veneer in a common bond pattern and in a variety of colors, mainly red and ocher. The parapet cap of the north bay is emphasized by a dentil course. A similar brick parapet at the south bay was removed, probably as a result of the 1949 earthquake, around 1950. Currently, the southern bay is covered by a shed roof that is lower at the north. Both bays of the west elevation have extensive trabeated openings, filled with multi-pane wood frame windows and doors. The east elevation is poured concrete and is undistinguished. Structurally, the building, although from 1918, is typical of buildings in Pioneer Square Historic District erected right after the Fire of 1889: side walls are brick bearing walls. The main façade is also of brick. The interior is dominated by a heavy timber post and beam system. It also includes deeps girders, posts with brackets and exposed roof and mezzanine floor joists. The foundation is a poured concrete pier type. There is a partial basement with a slab floor.
This industrial warehouse building was erected on the original tidal flats, which began to be reclaimed in the mid-1890s, and near the site of many nearby industrial buildings. Prior to the Fire of 1889, a wood frame warehouse sat on the site. That building as well as wharves, sawmills, print shops and other businesses were destroyed by the fire. By 1904, another wood frame building which housed the Heffernan Engine Works’ engine shed and machine shop had apparently replaced the wood structure, although a permit had also been granted to build a masonry building, which was not built. The Hull Building Company applied for a permit for the Heffernan Engine Works Building in May 1918.The Heffernan Engine Works, which specialized in ship machinery was established by John T. Heffernan in 1899. In 1907, John Heffernan also founded the Heffernan Dry Dock Company ; (by 1915, John Heffernan’s Dry Dock Company was so successful that he was able to commission Kirtland Cutter to design a Tudor Revival home). By 1916, Heffernan Engine Works had equipped over seventeen steam vessels used for coastal trade purposes. It also had large ship repair contracts with the United States Government. The Heffernan machine and pattern shops offices and storage continued to be housed in the building until the late 1920s. In 1931, L. L. Buchanan purchased the building and by the late 1930s, Draper Engine Works and Buchanan Auto Freight shared the building. Draper Engine Works continued to occupy the building until 1979. From 1980 until 1998, the building housed the Old Firehouse Antique Market, a retail antique mall. Around the late 1990s, the owner at the time considered a renovation of the building. This building is a vestige of the expansion of the original “burnt district” after the Fire of 1889. The area expanded significantly in the 1900s both as a result of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-1898 and the prosperity brought by the railroads. The building is also representative of a type of utilitarian building, erected on the reclaimed tide flats, as both railroads and shipping became increasingly important and Railroad Avenue, (now Alaskan Way), was gradually transformed. The building is also associated with economic and industrial growth along the waterfront as a result of World War I. It occupied by a business involved in shipbuilding, which was founded not very long after the Great Fire of 1889, as were several other warehouses along First Avenue South, for instance. The building continued to serve industrial uses well into the 1970s, a rarity this late and this close to the original heart of the Pioneer Square Historic District. Overall, despite some changes, the main Alaskan Way façade retains a significant part of its original design features. Most of the window and door openings of the main facade are original. On the south bay, three original X braced doors with twelve panel upper lights remain at the street level. Other multi-pane windows and doors on the lower half of the south façade are replacements, but very similar to the originals. The historical multi-pane window and door sashes have been replaced over time (most original windows were top hinge operated), but are similar to the originals. At the lower portion of the north bay, multi-pane glazing replaced an original storefront with panel doors and sidelights, while the mezzanine level had multi-pane windows as it does now. Also on the north bay, the current multi-pane sash at the upper level replaced separated window units. Interestingly, the original 1970 National Register Nomination for the Pioneer Square District appears to make no mention of this building at all, not even as an intrusion.

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