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The Seattle Times | Pacific Northwest

Now & Then Paul Dorpat

Rooms for the boom

by Paul Dorpat

When its 37 two-room units were opened to renters in 1910, the Raymond Apartments were touted as "the only apartment house in the cluster-light district." The historical scene printed here includes an example of Seattle's first ornamental street lights, the six-globe "cluster-light standard" to the left of the pie-shaped Raymond's arching front door at the corner of First Avenue and Warren Place.

The cluster lights were installed in 1909-10, and for its 1911 annual report City Light counted 1,116 of them lighting 13.5 miles of the city's busiest streets, most of them downtown. If the new Raymond was the only apartment house on these same streets that distinction could not have lasted but a few weeks or even days. It was this boomtown's boom time for apartment construction.

Workers increasingly wanted their own baths, which meant for many a move from a lodging house into a private apartment. The 1903 city directory for a Seattle of about 100,000 citizens lists only eight apartment buildings, but more than 150 lodging houses. Eight years later, in a city of about 230,000 citizens, the 1911 directory lists more than 300 apartment buildings and a mere 23 lodging houses.

Designed by architects Thompson and Thompson, a father-son partnership, for the Monmouth Building Company, the Raymond Apartments were later sold and renamed for their new owner, the William Daniels Apartments. The name has held. When the city's Department of Planning and Development published its 2004 "Design Guidelines for the Belltown Urban Center Village" it listed the Daniels as one of the district's 61 "Icon Buildings" and complimented it for its flatiron shape and unified design featuring active and not blank façades.

"Washington Then and Now," the new book by Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard ($45), can be purchased through

or Tartu Publications, P.O. Box 85208, Seattle, WA 98145.