Preservation Month Highlight: the View Crest Apartments

The View Crest apartment building in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood, 1952.

Did you know that May is Preservation Month? Since 1973, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has led the country in celebrating the people and organizations who advocate for our historic sites. And while the National Trust shared lots of ways you can celebrate, we’re joining in the festivities the best way we know how: by putting the spotlight on a King County historic site.

The View Crest apartment building in Seattle’s Queen Anne is a great example of the mid-century modern style that characterizes the neighborhood. Designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca—designer of Seattle’s Coliseum, Orpheum, Paramount, and Admiral theaters—it is now owned by a cooperative. This year, they received 4Culture funding through our Preservation Special Projects grant to hire a consultant to develop a historic structures report, which will help guide their preservation efforts. With information like the building’s historic significance and structural integrity recorded and recommendations for rehabilitation materials and techniques included, the report will be a powerful tool for the View Crest cooperative. They plan to submit a City of Seattle Landmark Nomination as the report is completed.

Design plans for the View Crest apartment buildings by architect B. Marcus Priteca.

So, why highlight this site for Preservation Month? The View Crest building is not ornate or even particularly old—it doesn’t fit the profile of a property you might usually think of as “historic.” In fact, this is exactly why we are excited to share its story! It’s a property with historic significance that is still very much a part of the current-day fabric of Seattle. In their grant application, the cooperative state that the building residents are “middle-class wage earners such as teachers, nurses, and administrators in the health industry, as well as fine artists, writers, and designers that otherwise would be unable to live in the neighborhood.” As our region grapples with population increase and rapid development, too often the conversation forces us to choose between preserving historic buildings and creating enough affordable housing. The View Crest is a great reminder that we can actually have both, if we are creative and inclusive in our approach to preservation.

Happy Preservation Month from 4Culture!