AKA: Rhodes Ten Cent Store #2, Downtown, Seattle, WA; Gasco Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - department stores

Designers: Thomas, Harlan C., Architect (firm); Woeck, Peter, Carpenter and Contractor (firm); Irving Harlan Thomas (architect); Peter Woeck (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 1924

5 stories

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1507 4th Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98101

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The Rhodes 10-Cent Store #2 stood near the northwest corner of Pike Street and 4th Avenue, occupying 1507-1511 4th Avenue.

Overview

This second store in the Rhodes Brothers Company's 10-Cent Store group did not operate for long. It lasted only between 1924 and 1932, when it became a victim of the Depression. The building was one of the more unusual and eye-catching Italian Renaissance-influenced buildings ever built in Downtown Seattle, a significant work by the architect Harlan Thomas.

Building History

The Seattle architect Harlan Thomas (1870-1953) produced the unusual "Italian Renaissance" design of the second Downtown Seattle store for the Rhodes Brothers 10-Cent Store. Thomas worked with Peter Woeck, the general contractor and A.G. Linhoff, the plaster contractor.

This store located near the corner of 4th Avenue and Pike Street did not supercede the first Rhodes 10-Cent Store location in the Arcade Building. The Seattle Daily Times noted at the opening of this store on 12/15/1924:"Mr. Rhodes announces that the opening of the new store will in no way affect the original store located in the Arcade Building. Both stores will operate in conjunction, the expansion being made to accommodate a tremendous increase in business." (See "Rhodes Brothers Open Second Store: celebration Marks Twenty-Fifth Anniversary," Seattle Daily Times, 12/15/1924, p. 11.)

The arch included in the center of the 4th Avenue facade was one of the building's most notable features. As described at its opening by the Seattle Daily Times: "The exterior of the building is of Italian Renaissance style, and is faced in glazed terra cotta. One of the most striking features of the exterior design is the 24-foot arched recess above the Fourth Avenue entrance, for scenic displays. This recess will be constantly in use with attractive displays incidental to civic activities or national holidays and celebrations. For the Christmas season, a big Christmas tree has been erected in it. When its is completed the back will be of white tile and will add a dignified air to the exterior architecture. The idea was evolved by Harlan Thomas, architect for the building." (See "Rhodes Brothers Open Second Store: celebration Marks Twenty-Fifth Anniversary," Seattle Daily Times, 12/15/1924, p. 11.) The inclusion of a unusually large, 24-foot, arched opening on the front facade may have been derived in broad terms from Alberti's well-known Basilica of Sant'Andrea, Mantua, Italy, (1472-1490), a renowned Italian Renaissance monument.

The configuration of a central arched motif flanked on either side by lower, trabeated openings is known as a "Palladian window," or "Serliana." Thomas included two bulls-eye windows above the arch, suggesting that he was adapting the same motif found most notably in Palladio's Basilica in Vicenza, Italy (1549-1614).

The building was taken over in 1932 by the Seattle Gas Company, which denuded the front facade of some of its grand terra cotta ornament. It utilized the location as a payment center and showroom for new gas-powered kitchen appliances.

Building Notes

In 12/1924, retail space extended across the whole of the first floor and portions of the basement. The first floor, equipped "with an all-marble candy counter as a feature," sold candy made by Rhodes itself. Next to the main entrance on 4th Avenue, a stair led down to the basement, where shoppers would find, "Burr Oaks," the soda fountain and lunch counter. In Burr Oaks, "Strict attention to sanitary conditions and a special ventilating system to carry the odor of food away are provided." (See "Rhodes Brothers Open Second Store: celebration Marks Twenty-Fifth Anniversary," Seattle Daily Times, 12/15/1924, p. 11.) For customers, a womens' restroom and lounge was placed on a mezzanine above the first floor.

The architect located stock and rest rooms on the second, third and fourth floors, while the fifth contained a special banquet and entertainment room, as well as the candy and pastry kitchens. Strong emphasis was placed on developing a robust ventilation system that cicrculated filtered air throughout the store.

Demolition

This second Rhodes 10-Cent Store was removed to make way for the Century Square Office Building and Shopping Mall.

PCAD id: 22498