Seattle Now & Then: The Zindorf Apartments

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: A close “read” of this concrete pile at 714 7th Ave. will reveal many lines of tiles decorating its gray facades.  (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey)
THEN: A close “read” of this concrete pile at 714 7th Ave. will reveal many lines of tiles decorating its gray facades. (Courtesy, Lawton Gowey) 
NOW:  One of the Zindorf’s prides, its colored tiles, survive now but under colored coats of what appears to be impervious paint.  The real color of the tiles survives for study and touch in the arching entrance.
NOW: One of the Zindorf’s prides, its colored tiles, survive now but under colored coats of what appears to be impervious paint. The real color of the tiles survives for study and touch in the arching entrance.

Mathew Partrick Zindorf, the sturdy builder-developer of these namesake apartments, ran a classified in The Post-Intelligencer for Sept. 19, 1909 that trumpeted the qualities of his then modern four-story (with basement) creation on the east side of 7th Avenue, mid-block between Cherry and Columbia Streets.  Distributed throughout were seventy-one apartments, 40 of two rooms, 28 of three, and 3 of four.  Everyone of them had disappearing beds, tiled and enameled bathrooms, kitchenettes fitted with gas ranges and refrigerators, and every apartment was entered thru the elegance of doors aglow with art glass, and along floors, halls and stairs finished in Alaska marble and art tiling.

Preservationish Diana James, quoted here, recorded this peek into the Zindorf entrance while researching for her history of Seattle apartment house, "Shared Walls" and often shared with this blog.  Three details follow, also by James.
Preservationist Diana James, quoted here, recorded this peek into the Zindorf entrance while researching for “Shared Walls,” her history of Seattle apartment houses, and often shared with this blog. The three details follow, are also by James.

Zinborn-entrance-tiled-by-D.James-No.-2WEB

Zindorf-entrance-tiles-by-D.James-No.-2-WEB Zindorf-entrance-titles-by-D.-James-No.-3-WEb

A Seattle Times early clip on the "new Zindorf."
A Seattle Times early clip on the “new Zindorf.”
The 1912 Baist map locates the Zindorf.
The 1912 Baist map locates the concrete Zindorf and its brick neighbor the Columbia at the southeast corner of Columbia St. and 7th Avenue..

The apartment’s accompanying portrait – from about 1911 – reveals that it was lavishly decorated with art tile on the outside as well.  But most importantly, these apartments were made of fireproof reinforced concrete.  It was a point of such gravity to the long-lived Zindorf that the first line in his Seattle Times obituary for April 13, 1952 reads, “93.  Long-time Seattle construction engineer, who built

1-obit-ST-4-13-1952-Zindorf-WEB

the first reinforced concreted structure here . . .the Zindorf Apartments.”  Historian Dianna James, author of “Shared Walls,” a history of Seattle’s apartment buildings, doubts it.  She nominates the Waldorf apartment-hotel for that distinction.  Built a few blocks north of Zindorf at the northeast corner of 7th and Pike and about three years earlier in 1906, in a Times report from 1907, the Waldorf is also described as strictly fireproof . . . built of reinforced concrete . . . There is no wood of any kind, except the flooring.”

A July 11, 1909 clip from the Times.
A July 11, 1909 clip from the Times.

Zindorf seems to have had some uncertainty about his namesake apartments before they opened.  In a July 11, 1909 Times classified the developer indicates a willingness “to lease for a term of years” his “strictly first-class building and very close in. . .”  However, the offer did not, it seems, indicate an impasse, for the 1909 Times classified noted above promised that “the apartment house will be ready for occupancy in October.”  Next in the Times classifieds for December 12, a self-acclaimed “first class dressmaker, Mrs. Amsbury, was advertising her services from Zindorf apartment 1-b.”  Early in January a “professional masseur and chiropodist” was offering rheumatism massage in a Zindorf apartment.

Seattle Times, Jan. 7, 1910.
Seattle Times, Jan. 7, 1910.

A century ago the neighborhood was distinguished by the brick Monticello Hotel, directly across 7th Ave. from the Zindorf; the Seattle Fire Department’s headquarters, at the southwest corner of

Seattle's post-1889 fire headquarters at the southwest corner of 7th Ave. and Columbia Street, and so for most of its life - although not in this early Wilse shot form the 1890s - across 7th Avenue from both the Zindorf and Columbia Apartment.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)
Looking southeast across Columbia Street at Seattle’s post-1889 fire headquarters at the southwest corner of 7th Ave. and Columbia Street, and so for most of its life – although not in this early Wilse shot from the 1890s – across 7th Avenue from both the Zindorf and Columbia Apartment.  One of Jean’s and my Pacific Features upcoming will show this station in its last days during the building of the freeway, with another transparency by Frank Shaw.  (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

7th and Columbia; the brick Columbia Bldg. (also showing here), next door at the southeast corner of the same intersection, and nearby both St. James Cathedral and Trinity Episcopal Church.  And being “very close in” to the business district was made nearly immediate by Cable Railways on both James and Madison Streets.  For the second half of its life, the Zindorf has faced the freeway, and heard it too.

Zindorf's neighbor the Columbia at the southeast corner of 7th and Columbia.  This view of its recorded by public works photographer James Lee in 1911.
Zindorf’s neighbor the Columbia at the southeast corner of 7th and Columbia. This view of it was recorded by public works photographer James Lee in 1911.   The Zindorf appears far right.
Looking northwest towards First Hill from the top floor of the old City Hall.  I no longer remember the occasion for my visiting that exterior balcony, but it was probably during the Royer administration.  Here the tops of both the Zindorf and the Columbia peek above Interstate-Five aka The Seattle Freeway within the city.
Looking northeast towards First Hill from the top floor of the old City Hall. I no longer remember the occasion for my visiting city hall’s exterior balcony, but it was probably during the Royer administration. Here the tops of both the Zindorf and the Columbia peek above Interstate-Five aka within the city as The Seattle Freeway.

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?   Yes Jean, but with a confession that we have, again, given most of our time to research and this show-tell (the sensational rewards of research) will suffer some because of it.  We don’t have time for it all it seems, however, Ron Edge’s help is typically redeeming in this, and so below we will include a number of aerials got from Ron and from the edges of other collections. To these we will join a few past features from the neighborhood – most of them linked by Ron – and a few other features pulled from this computer.  Also we will leave much of the interpretation to the readers.  They may feel confident that most likely the Zindorf will figure into what we add – either directly or as a neighbor.   What follows, then, is something of a challenge.  To repeat, we  will begin with the links, continue on then to some aerials and then find a few more neighborly features.  (The last may be added later in the week, depending, this evening, on the nighty-bear*  impulses.)
* Coined and used by Bill Burden to describe or indicte anything that may have to do with going to bed.

=====

FIVE LINKS

 

THEN: The city's regrading forces reached Sixth Avenue and Marion Street in 1914. A municipal photographer recorded this view on June 24. Soon after, the two structures left high here were lowered to the street. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

=====

1950 AERIALS

 

The Zindorf and much else is revealed in this 1950 aerial.
The Zindorf and much else is revealed in this 1950 aerial.  Click TWICE to enlarge and explore. (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
Another 1950 aerial of the looking east here over Pioneer Square, up First Hill and beyond it.  This is dated August 11, 1950. and it does include the Zindorf, barely.
Another 1950 aerial, looking east here over Pioneer Square, up First Hill and beyond it. This is dated August 11, 1950. and it does include the Zindorf, but barely.  It appears far left about one/third down from the top.   Columbia Street climbs First Hill far-left.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)

=====

The TWO from 1929  CHALLANGE

Looking east over much of the business district in an aerial (and damaged print) from 1929.  The reader is encouraged to try some hide-and-seek when comparing with oblique aerial with the vertical "map aerial" that follows covering much of the same neighborhood.
Looking east over much of the business district in an aerial (and damaged print) from 1929. The reader is encouraged to try some hide-and-seek when comparing with oblique aerial with the vertical “map aerial” that follows covering much of the same neighborhood.  (Courtesy, Ron Edge)
This, again, is a portion of the Municipal Archive's 1929 mapping aerial survey of the city and its environs.  Ron Edge both scanned and merged it.
This, again, is a portion of the Municipal Archive’s 1929 aerial survey of the city and its environs. Ron Edge both scanned and merged it.  CLICK TWICE to EXPLORE.

=====

We hope to soon include what remains.  But now we climb the stairway to nighty-bears*

* compliments Bill Burden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: The Zindorf Apartments”

  1. What a great way to travel back in time and learn about our wonderful city. I am huge fan of both yours and Jean’s “work” (in quotes because I imagine it is more a love affair with the city than work). I work at Amazon and have been feverishly snapping photos of what remains of the South Lake Union bones. The Troy Laundry building is a story I would like to hear more about. The outer facade will be salvaged and now that they determined how much chemicals seeped into the environment they are going to begin construction.

    I would love to help.

  2. I am one of Mathew Patrick Zindorf’s granddaughters. He was the father of my mother, Ruth Mc Phaden, who died in May 2012.
    I enjoyed the article. He also has a mountain named after him in the Olympics, Mount Zindorf.
    It is a coincidence that this article was in the issue about modern Seattle Bulidings because, we lived in a Paul Thiry house in Normandy Park that was destroyed a few years ago. The neighbors decided to tear it down as it was obscuring views.
    Anyhow, thanks for the great article about the Zindorf apartments.
    Christine Marshall

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s