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Historic Preservation

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September 26, 2017 3:04 pm

Travel to the Northeast

Ellen recently enjoyed a family vacation on the east coast, and took the opportunity to learn more about the history and architecture of New Jersey and New York.

Courtesy of the Chester Historical Society

Interior of the Cooper Gristmill

First stop was the Cooper Gristmill in Chester, New Jersey. Built in 1826, the restored building is one of the only extant water-powered mills in the state. A volunteer demonstrated the mill’s interior workings, including the massive water wheel.

Next stop was Waterloo Village in New Jersey. Built as a canal village, it is now a protected historical park, with a working smithy, a gristmill, and other interpretive centers that illustrate daily life in 1872.

The Finger Lakes region of New York was next, with two particularly interesting sites. The first was the Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion in Canandaigua. The house was the country home of wealthy banker Frederick Ferris Thompson and his wife, Mary Clark Thompson. It was designed by prominent New York City architect Francis Richmond Allen. Even more famous than the house are the restored gardens, which were designed by landscape architect Ernest W. Bowditch.

The second site in the Finger Lakes area was the Seneca Bark Longhouse and Seneca Art & Cultural Center in Ganondagan, two sites that form an interpreted landscape exploring the culture and history of the Seneca and Haudenosaunee peoples and the village of Ganondagan. The longhouse has been faithfully reproduced from archaeological evidence dating back to the seventeenth century. The Seneca Art & Cultural Center opened in 2015 with an award-winning design by Francois de Menil in conjunction with DeWolff Partnership architects.

Canal workers’ housing, Waterloo Village, New Jersey (soon to be restored)

Smithy at Waterloo Village, New Jersey

Mill at Waterloo Village, New Jersey

Waterloo Village, New Jersey

Sonnenberg Mansion, Canandaigua, New York

Sonnenberg Italian garden, Canandaigua, New York

Seneca Bark Longhouse, Ganondagan, New York

Seneca Art & Cultural Center at Ganondagan. Designed by Francois de Menil, AIA, in conjunction with DeWolff Partnership Architects, 2015.

June 19, 2017 4:02 pm

Joseph Mayer Memorial Street Clock, a.k.a the West Earth Co. Street Clock

After hundreds of hours of restoration work, the City of Seattle Landmark street clock known as the West Earth Co. Clock has been installed at the corner of Dexter Avenue N and Harrison Street. Chuck Roeser of Essence of Time, a clock restorer from western New York, did an absolutely fantastic job. The reinstallation began on March 28 and was completed a few days later. We feel fortunate to have been included in the project as Alexander Real Estate’s historic resources consultant.

You can read more about the clock and its 2015 deinstallation here.

Finished installation

Chuck Roeser

June 17, 2016 10:23 am

Philadelphia area homes—Chestnut Hill

While in Philadelphia in May, Larry & Lani enjoyed touring residential neighborhoods in suburban Philadelphia. George Bryant, Architect and Historian, led one of the AIA convention tours; his focused on the development and architectural richness of the Wissahickon/St. Martin’s neighborhood in Chestnut Hill. After the excellent tour, we spent additional time in this historic area, looking an amazing variety of homes. Here are just a few examples:

George explains the concept of a "twin," two houses built together. George explained that these 1886 Queen Anne style twins designed by GW & WD Hewitt were typical of smaller houses developed in this area.

George explains the concept of a “twin,” two houses built together. George explained that these 1886 Queen Anne style twins—designed by brothers (though not twins!) G.W. & W.D. Hewitt–were typical of smaller houses developed in this area.

 

1917 homes designed by Edmund Gilchrist to create an "integrated streetscape."

Lovely 1917 home designed by Edmund Gilchrist, showing Arts & Crafts influences.

 

Vanna Venturi house, designed by Robert Venturi, 1962-64

Vanna Venturi house, designed by Robert Venturi, 1962-64.

 

Esherick House designed by Louis Kahn, 1961.

Esherick House designed by Louis Kahn, 1961.

 

Houston-Sauveur House. This 1885 home is a fine example of a Queen Anne shingle style. Below is a detail of the "spider" window.

Houston-Sauveur House. This 1885 home is a fine example of a Queen Anne Shingle style. Below is a detail of the “spider” window.

 

1885 "spider" window.

1885 “spider” window.

 

A stately colonial designed by Charles Barton Keen, 1913.

A stately colonial house designed by Charles Barton Keen, 1913.

 

What style do you think this is?

What style do you think this is?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-century modern homes were built on the grounds of a demolished mansion. Do you think the Jetson's live here?

Mid-century modern homes were built on the grounds of a demolished mansion. Do the Jetsons live here?

 

 

May 25, 2016 11:19 am

AIA Convention in Philadelphia

Lani and Larry Johnson attended the 2016 National AIA Convention in Philadelphia last week. The Pennsylvania Convention Center fills four city blocks and is HUGE! Larry focused on historic preservation and attended a full-day workshop on preservation issues for Modernist architecture. The related EXPO was gigantic, and we learned about all kinds of interesting new architectural products and technology. Along with our friend George Bryant, a Philadelphia architect and historian, we also did a lot of architectural touring. Watch for another post later showing some interesting examples of residential architecture.

The Philadelphia City Hall reigned as the largest habitable building in the world from 1894 until 1908.

The Philadelphia City Hall reigned as the largest habitable building in the world from 1894 until 1908.

 

The cavernous entry to the Philadelphia convention Center from Reading Terminal. We were able to travel to and from the Convention Center by rail.

Entry to the Philadelphia Convention Center from Reading Terminal. We traveled to and from the convention center by rail, so this was how we arrived. The main entrance to the convention center totally dwarfs this!

 

Right across the street from the multi-block Convention Center is this architectural gem—The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts designed by Frank Furness, built in 1871-1876.

Right across the street from the huge, multi-block convention center is this architectural gem: the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, designed by Frank Furness and built in 1871-1876.

 

Did you know that the oldest hospital in the US is in Philadelphia? Pennsylvania Hospital was founded by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Bond in 1751, and this building was built in 1755.

Did you know that the oldest hospital in the USA is in Philadelphia? Pennsylvania Hospital was founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Bond; the main building was built in 1755.

 

Lani enjoyed visiting Longwood Gardens, an amazing horticultural garden with over 1,000 acres of gardens, fountains, meadows, woodlands, conservatory, topiary garden, outdoor theater, and other garden delights. This photo shows the Italian Water Garden.

Lani enjoyed visiting Longwood Gardens, an amazing horticultural garden with over 1,000 acres of gardens, fountains, meadows, woodlands, a conservatory, topiary garden, outdoor theater, and other garden delights. This photo shows the Italian Water Garden.

 

 

March 3, 2015 3:03 pm

Shaping Seattle Architecture

The second edition of Shaping Seattle Architecture, edited by Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, is now available in bookstores. The original ground breaking book of architectural biographies and architectural essays was originally published in 1994. This new edition corrects some minor editorial errors, expands on the number of biographies and essays, as well as including short biographies of additional local architects that made significant architectural contributions to our community.

Our principal, Larry E. Johnson, AIA, made some contributions to this edition, with additional information on Ellsworth Storey, and short bios of other lesser-known architects who practiced in the Pacific Northwest.

We congratulate Professor Ochsner, and his other major contributors, particularly David Rash, for this exemplary academic achievement.

bookcover

February 14, 2015 12:23 pm

4:20 O’Clock

Thursday, February 12, 2015, Larry spent most of the day observing the de-installation of the eight-dial Dexter Street Clock, a City of Seattle Landmark officially known as the West Earth Clock. The clock has a long and mysterious history that will soon be covered in another blog post.

It has taken several months to obtain the necessary approval, permits, find the right people, and the right time to schedule the job. The clock is approximately 20 feet tall and weighs several hundred pounds. The property owner, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., brought in Chuck Roeser of Essence of Time, a Lockport, New York, clock restoration company, as well as local street clock aficionado, Captain Paul Middens, USN retired, to guide the de-installation. Local art handler Artech handled all the heavy work, starting early in the morning and finishing up that evening.

http://www.ustowerclock.com/index.html

The bezels, dials, hands, and head came off fairly easily, but presenting a little surprise. The clock dial had the original owner’s name, “M. G. Caplan,” etched onto the dial face, but an attempt was made to hide the name, suggesting the owner may have not been able to make the payments for the expensive clock. As a result Joseph Myer, the make of the clock, had taken it back.

After the head had been safely stowed away, the crew worked to remove the Corinthian column mounted above the cast iron base. We did not anticipate an internal steel pipe column, so the outer column had to be lifted vertically, with only minimum mandated safe distances to overhead high-power lines. We all breathed a sigh of relief when the column cleared the pipe.

It turned out that only one or two rusty nuts and one inch of concrete sidewalk was holding the clock from falling over. The clock is now safely crated and placed in secure storage. It will soon be shipped to Chuck’s shop in New York for complete restoration. We thank the Artech crew, Ryan McKinney, Carlos Valenzeula, Henry Spieker, and Cody Thomaselli, for doing a fantastic job on the project.http://artechseattle.com

http://artechseattle.com

The clock has been stuck at 4:20 for several years.

The clock has been stuck at 4:20 for several years.

The head comes down.

The head comes down.

 

Cody Thomaselli, Chuck Roeser, and Paul Middens  (L-R) examining the clock head.

Cody Thomaselli, Chuck Roeser, and Paul Middens (L-R) examining the clock head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chuck holding Vitrolite dial while TJP's Howard Miller tries to read the name of the former owner, M. G. Caplan.

Chuck holding Vitrolite dial while TJP’s Howard Miller tries to read the name of the former owner, M. G. Caplan.

 

 

 

A tricky maneuver.

A tricky maneuver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not much holding the base down.

Not much holding the base down.

The head stowed safely on its pallet.

The head stowed safely on its pallet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 15, 2014 9:51 am

The Duncan Horse Returns

1937 Duncan & Sons

1937 Duncan & Sons

1937 Duncan & Sons

Many people we’ve talked to remember the Quarter Horse mounted above the storefront of the old Duncan Building on 2nd Avenue S between S Main Street and S Jackson Street, in the Pioneer Square Historic District. The building was occupied by Duncan & Sons, saddle makers, from from 1920 to 1970. The company mounted a full-size horse (Number 1) above their entry in 1962, but removed the original when they sold the building and moved to 1st Avenue. They hung the original horse on the side of their new building. The Duncan family later removed that horse when they went out of business.

The new owners of the Duncan building replaced the horse with a replica (Number 2), but the second horse was removed sometime after the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake.

Jeff Schoenfeld recently purchased the Duncan Building  and requested our assistance in replacing the horse. It turned out that all the horses were made from fiberglass in Mexico—so the third horse to grace the building is almost identical to the original 1960s horse. Swenson Say Faget handled the engineering, and we prepared the permit package.

Congratulations Jeff. You’ve given the District a great gift.

Duncan Building ca. 1937

Duncan Building ca. 1937

Original horse at Duncan & Sons on 1st Avenue

Original horse at Duncan & Sons on 1st Avenue

Duncan Horse Number 2, ca. 2001

Duncan Horse Number 2, ca. 2001

The Duncan Horse Returns

The Duncan Horse Returns

May 10, 2013 1:34 pm

Larry and Lani are recognized in the latest Washington Trust News

wash trust-1

 

Larry and Lani sent photos to the Washington Trust of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill near Woodland, WA. Lani recommends it as a great place to visit! If you’re in the area during blooming season, also check out the Hilda Klager Lilac Garden in Woodland.

May 1, 2013 2:37 pm

Seattle Pacific University’s Alexander Hall to be considered for Landmark Nomination.

 

Alexander Hall021

The groundbreaking for a new school, named the Seattle Seminary, took place on October 29, 1891, and the four-story masonry building, designed by Seattle architect John Parkinson, was completed in April of 1893. John Parkinson prepared the plans and specifications, and a construction contract was let to C.G. Slayton and Co. The school’s only building, originally nicknamed the “Red Brick Building” (later Alexander Hall), was only barely completed and without furniture or fittings when Alexander and Adelaide Beers arrived from Virginia to serve as the school’s first faculty. The building served all the school’s functions, with classrooms, a library, administrative offices, a chapel, as well as serving as a dormitory for teachers and students alike.

Alexander Hall was placed on the Washington Heritage Register in 1972.

Read more about Alexander Hall in the Landmark Nomination report we prepared. There will be a public hearing in front of the Landmarks Board on May 15, 2013, to determine whether the building should be nominated as a City of Seattle Landmark.

March 13, 2013 2:33 pm

Stewardship Architects and Preservation & Historic Resources Consulting

Here at the Johnson Partnership, not only do we practice architecture, designing both new homes and remodels, we also use our knowledge to consult with clients on buildings that may have Historic significance. We sometimes act as the Stewardship, or Preservation Architects for Landmarked buildings, buildings in Landmark districts, or where the value the of the historic character of a building is significant. Services we provide range from designing a remodel for a Landmarked building and getting the design approved by the Seattle Landmarks Board, to creating a 3-D Building Information Model  (BIM) to facilitate upgrading older plumbing and electrical systems with the least disturbance to historic finishes. Check out our Stewardship portfolio for more information on these projects.

Stewart residence; June, 2009

 

Our Historic Resources Consulting Services are also broad based. We write reports for Landmark Nominations at the National, State, and Local levels. We write reports for Federal NHPA Section 106 compliance and other NEPA and SEPA evaluations. We do documentation of Historic buildings for State Archives. We can provide support for Federal tax credits, or write a Historic Structures Report describing the physical characteristics, historical significance, and recommendations for future action for a historic building.

One of the most interesting types of consulting we have been doing lately is working with a project team, including the project manager and building architect, to recommend the best way to retrofit buildings for decreased energy consumption from  historic preservation perspective. This has included advising the University of Washington on best practices of adding insulation on their Magnusen Health Sciences Center to minimize the impact of thicker rooflines on Mid-Century Modern buildings, and detailing increased insulation at parapet walls.

MHSC graphic

It feels great that we can use our specialized knowledge of Historic Preservation to help retrofit older buildings for improved energy performance. It really fits in with our firm values to preserve not only the best parts of our built environment, but preserve our natural environment by helping buildings use less energy.