Historic landmark designation expected for 1914 Ansonia

Tacoma City Council is expected to vote Sept. 30 on whether to add the 1914 Ansonia Building to the city's...

Tacoma City Council is expected to vote Sept. 30 on whether to add the 1914 Ansonia Building to the city’s register of historic places.

A recommendation to add the five-story building, located at 215 North Tacoma Avenue and within the National Historic Register’s Stadium Seminary Historic District, was approved by the city’s landmarks preservation commission Sept. 10.

The nomination has worked its way through City Hall for two months. On Aug. 13, the landmarks commission conducted a preliminary review of the application. On Sept. 10, the commission revisited the item and opened it up to public comment before voting to recommend the nomination and forward it City Council, which has the final vote on adding buildings to Tacoma’s historic register.

The nomination was prepared by Gene Grulich of Grulich Architecture and Planning on behalf of the building’s owner, Ansonia Development LLC. The owner has recently converted the former apartment building into a 25-unit condominium complex.

According to the nomination, the Ansonia was designed by Tacoma architects Frederick Heath and George Gove as a luxury building aimed at Tacoma’s emergent upper class. Original advertisement brochures for the gilded building appealed to this demographic: each unit included wall safes for silver and jewelry; kitchens were fitted with dumb waiters and telephones connected to servants’ quarters in the basement; and roof gardens for top-floor tenants offered water views.

When the building was completed, Heath wrote of his desire for the building to “afford all the advantages of a luxurious private residence, and to restrict its occupancy to desirable tenants of known character and standing.”

Between 1914 and 1939, the building’s ownership changed hands several times. By 1939, department store magnate Henry Rhodes owned the building. He lived with his wife in a top-floor apartment until his death in 1954.

The Ansonia is the latest building to be nominated to the city’s historic register.
In August, the City added the following buildings: Park Universalist Church, located at 206 North J Street; Saint Luke’s Memorial Episcopal Church, located at 3615 North Gove Street; Frisko Freeze, located at 1201 Division Avenue; Dorothy Apartments, located at 301 Tacoma Avenue North.

The 1914 Ansonia Building could be added to the city's register of historic places on Sept. 30. A recommendation to add the five-story building, located at 215 North Tacoma Avenue and within the National Historic Register's Stadium Seminary Historic District, was approved by the city's landmarks preservation commission last week. (PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)
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