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Landmarks Board to consider Fremont firehouse

By Geeky Swedes · June 30th, 2009 · 5 Comments

The Landmark Preservation Board is holding a hearing on Wednesday to determine whether Fire Station 9′s former fire signal station in Fremont should be designated a landmark.

The stucco-clad building at 3829 Linden Ave N was constructed in 1921 and was originally used for “receiving and transmitting alarms from pull boxes north of the Ship Canal to a centralized Fire Alarm Office of the Seattle Fire Department,” the Landmark Nomination document states (.pdf). Erik Pihl tells us that the Fire Department would like to demolish the current building to build a bigger fire station on its site. “Yet the building is significant,” he says, “and the only one built in Seattle to serve as a fire signal station.” You can send your opinion to the Landmarks Board coordinator Beth Chave at beth.chave@seattle.gov or you can attend tomorrow’s meeting at 3:30 p.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5th Ave, 40th Floor, Room 4060.

  • mike

    a. this thing is hideous, the neighborhood would be better served by a well-designed firehouse (mithun is the architect)

    b. i don't believe it meets any of the city's 6 criteria for designation

    c. just because something is unique isn't a strong argument to keep it.

  • Robby

    I happen to think that it is a very nice building, and that is should be saved for history.

    I don't think that it is hideous at all, I happen to like this building.

    I have sent an email to Beth Chave and told her exactly this.

  • NoraBell

    What's so hideous about it? It's a lovely little building.
    They have to be very sure of themselves, though. Landmark status didn't save the Ballard Denny's for many good reasons the developers were able to point out.

  • FremontResident

    Mike, some of us who live in Fremont care about our neighborhood, its history, its social fabric, and its environment. These values are not shared by all, as evidenced by your post and the poorly designed new construction that has significantly changed the feeling of major arterials in our neighborhood such as N 46th and N 39th (west of Fremont Avenue North).

    Mithun is a fine architect so I am sure the new fire station will be well designed, however, so was Daniel Huntington. Huntington was the prominent City of Seattle architect, who designed this modest, utilitarian structure in such a way that it would complement both the Fremont neighborhood and the residential context of its own street. Huntington's work is incredibly significant in Seattle history; he designed many of our important public buildings from early 20th century, many of which are landmarks already. The fact that this building was designed by an important architect demonstrates that it was a significant project for the City.

    Mithun builds environmentally sensitive buildings and as anyone familiar with sustainability knows, the greenest building is the one you do not tear down but adaptively re-use. Given the City's commitment to sustainability, this would be an ideal project on which to demonstrate their resolve.

    In my opinion the building qualifies for at least three of Seattle's Landmark criteria and should be designated.

    Mike, you are right, unique alone is not a reason to save something but unique in this context is different. It served a very important role in the history of the neighborhoods north of the ship canal by providing a fire alarm service for those neighborhoods and it linked this information to downtown. I believe it served this role for more than 50 years. That combined with other factors: its architect and its siting make it very significant and well worth designation.

    I have followed Robby's lead and have submitted a letter to Beth Chave.

  • mike

    fremont resident,

    i also live in fremont, and wish to see a strong fabric, but keeping this building makes no sense, architecturally the building is insignificant. yes, huntington has some buildings worth saving, but we shouldn't save every project he did, just because of the few decent ones. and i'll reiterate, it wasn't built the way he intended.

    also, i'm not really sure how a “mission revival” complements the neighborhood – maybe in yakima, where the climate can be similar to albuquerque. but if you look at early photos of fremont, contextually it's a bit grotesque.

    the 'poorly designed' projects you mention typically aren't designed by award winning architects. and yes, i despise them as much as you. probably more so.

    finally, you can make the argument that building nothing is green, but the neighborhood loses out on having an adequate fire station. they could try and adapt it around the site, but having worked on a fire station, the city just wouldn't have enough space on the lot. adaptive reuse wouldn't be appropriate to this site for this function.

    also, the city's resolve to sustainable architecture is weak at best – none of the projects really go far enough, in my opinion.




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