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Volunteer Park up for historical landmark nomination, 1200 E Pike building tries again

Being designated a landmark doesn’t necessarily protect a Seattle location from the trials and tribulations of change but it does make it more difficult for the future to screw up the best of our community’s past. This month, two Capitol Hill spaces will be considered for historical landmark status. For the nearly 100-year-old Volunteer Park, the nomination would allow the Olmstead-designed park to join the ranks of Cal Anderson and Hiawatha among the city’s landmark parks. Meanwhile, the old 1200 building at the corner of 12th and E Pike will come before the landmark board for a second time to achieve a nomination into the process. The best parts of that process (beyond the protection a designation can afford) in CHS’s humble opinion are below. The landmark nomination documents are fantastic histories of Seattle through the prism of a geographic location. We’ve embedded the documents for both locations, below.

The nominations will be considered in a joint meeting later this month:

to consider Landmark Nominations for the Following Properties:
1200 East Pike Street and Volunteer Park 1400 East Prospect Street
The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider these nominations at its meeting on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower, 700 5thAvenue, 40thFloor, Room 4060.

Brooks Kolb, president of Friends of Seattle’s Olmstead Parks, said the nomination report for Volunteer Park prepared by his organization was the culmination of years of work.

“We feel that Volunteer Park is the crown jewel of the Olmstead legacy,” Kolb tells CHS. “Is is the most complete in the Olmstead vision of any park in Seattle.”

According to Kolb, the timing of the request for nomination is nothing more than pleasant serendipity with the park’s 100-year anniversary. He said the group has been working to nominate the park since 2004 and the document, embedded below, is the culmination of years of volunteer work.

The group hopes that nomination — and eventual designation — will help shape everything from the $800,000 playground overhaul to the eventual (currently un-planned and un-budgeted) lidding of the park’s reservoir.


Across the Hill in Pike/PIne, the 1200 E Pike push for a landmark nomination will gear up for a second time. In 2008 when the first nomination push was made, the plan had been to overhaul the building to its 1930s glory and have the property designated as a landmark. No word if the overhaul is still planned but the nomination packet provides a cool history of the Pike/Pine street corner from the days long before anybody called it Pike/Pine. Because / marks weren't invented yet. The yellow building is currently home to Chao Bistro and a few residents with an interesting Capitol Hill address.


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2 thoughts on “Volunteer Park up for historical landmark nomination, 1200 E Pike building tries again

  1. Could the “current era” photos be upgraded? Many were taken in the fall/witer, and look extremely bleak. I noted that the museum pics look terrible, especially contrasted with the amazing foliage that I saw yesterday!
    I guided a downtown building thru this process, and you strive to show the board the “optimal views” of your project. Not so here…
    Many photos were simply “amateurish”, and were not edited.

  2. I used to live in the 1200 pike building and it was pretty much a shithole. The landlords had no interest in improving it and were generally only concerned with screwing tenants out of their deposits. The other tenants were wonderful, though. I’d hate to see it go condo or something and lose its current “gay embassy” vibe. That said, rehabbing it and keeping it as affordable rental units would be a boon to the neighborhood.