Seattle Now & Then: Fox Garage

THEN: With her or his back to the Medical-Dental Building an unidentified photographer took this look northeast through the intersection of 6th and Olive Way about five years after the Olive Way Garage first opened in 1925.  (Courtesy, Mark Ambler)
THEN: With her or his back to the Medical-Dental Building an unidentified photographer took this look northeast through the intersection of 6th and Olive Way about five years after the Olive Way Garage first opened in 1925. (Courtesy, Mark Ambler)
NOW:  Jean Sherrard repeated the Fox Garage shot on a cold sun-lit January afternoon.  Besides the irregularity of the windows on the west (left) façade (and the signs) that some of the industrial-fitted windows in both the “then and now” are open suggests that this could be a garage. (Now photo by Jean Sherrard)
NOW: Jean Sherrard repeated the Fox Garage shot on a cold sun-lit January afternoon. Besides the irregularity of the windows on the west (left) façade (and the signs) that some of the industrial-fitted windows in both the “then and now” are open suggests that this could be a garage. (Jean Sherrard)

How had this lovely Gothic Revival garage escaped me for half of its life? I have driven by it a few hundred times since my first pass in 1966.   It was built in 1925 at the northeast corner of 6th Avenue and Olive Way. Perhaps I was a good driver and kept my eyes on Olive Way. But by such prudence I missed much including the slender corner tower that reaches seven stories to the Gothic parapet, which runs the length of the building’s public facades on both Olive and Sixth.

This photo of the Fox Garage was one of several Mark Ambler showed me in hopes that I could help him locate it and the others.  I recognized the Tower Building (at 7th and Olive) behind the garage, but remained puzzled about the garage itself.

Thanks to the “historical sites” section of the city’s Department of Neighborhoods website I found Karin Link’s summary of Fox Garage history.  The historic preservation consultant writes, “This is a very early and unique attempt at creating a tall parking garage, which could accommodate many cars, and still engage the neighborhood of well-designed city buildings.”  There is much more in this “Link report”, which you can read here.

The Fox Garage signs hanging here from the parapet are improvisations. The landmark first got its glamorous tie to the Fox Theatre/Music Hall when that lavish Spanish Revival theatre opened in 1929 at 7th Avenue, a block east on Olive Way.

George Wellington Stoddard, the architect, had a long and productive career in Seattle.  It may not surprise you to learn that he was also responsible for the concrete Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center (1947) and the concrete Green Lake Aqua Theatre (1950).

2 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: Fox Garage”

  1. I’d dare to say this building looks better now than it did in the thirties. Not so much can be said for the nearby Orpheum Automobile Hotel on Fifth at Stewart, currently known as the Avis garage. When the Orpheum Theater came down, the Washington Plaza (Westin) went up, along with some ugly metal screening that hides the only attractive feature of the building, it’s mosaic brickwork facade.

  2. David
    If you have taken a digital snap of it send it along please and we will post it with the story and your paragraph for a comparison.
    Paul

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