The Everett Civic Auditorium, Everett's Fire Station No. 2, the seven-story Medical-Dental Building, and Sequoia High School -- once South Junior High -- were all designed by architect Earl W. Morrison.
Morrison may not be a household name, but his buildings are solid signatures of Everett's architectural style in the early 20th century.
Historic Everett, a local heritage group, chose "The Architecture of Earl W. Morrison" as the theme of its 2012 calendar.
Morrison grew up in Spokane, and by age 20 had an office and was designing houses. He was so young that newspapers labeled him "Spokane's Boy Architect," according to a short biography in the calendar written by Dave Ramstad, a member of Historic Everett's board of trustees.
Ramstad is amazed at the architect's range. "He built everything, even garages and warehouses," he said. Morrison's early public commissions were in Wenatchee, where large projects included the Chelan County Courthouse and several schools. Among his bigger structures is The Bellingham Herald building. Also designed by Morrison was Mount Baker Lodge on Sunrise Lake, destroyed by fire in 1931.
"Earl Morrison left a major body of work here," said David Chrisman, program director of Historic Everett.
The old North Junior High, demolished in 1979 to be replaced by North Middle School, and the new Lincoln Elementary School at 25th Street and Oakes Avenue, were Morrison projects now gone from Everett's streetscape. One distinctive Morrison design, now Peak Health & Fitness on Rucker Avenue, was the Spanish-style Fisher Automotive Building. Built in 1929, it continued as a car dealership under different owners until the 1980s.
David Rash is an architectural historian who collaborated with Jeffrey Ochsner, a University of Washington architecture professor, on the book "Shaping Seattle Architecture," published by University of Washington Press.
"What I know about Morrison is that his buildings reflected the times," Rash said. In the early to late 1920s, he said, many public buildings were of the Classical Revival style. Later came Art Deco and Streamline Moderne styles, he said. Those later styles, with their curved lines, are seen in Morrison's Everett Civic Auditorium design.
Chrisman said the 2012 calendar is one of three that have been devoted to architects who left their marks on Everett.
In past years, Historic Everett calendars have featured August Heide, who designed the Butler-Jackson House and Snohomish County's first courthouse and its replacement after a 1909 fire. Architect Frederick Sexton, who designed schools, commercial buildings and homes, was also featured on a calendar. Two years ago, Historic Everett created a calendar picturing Everett's churches.
For the 2012 calendar, Historic Everett was helped in its research by Glenn Davis. A Spokane architect, Davis recently restored a 1912 Prairie-style home designed by Morrison. "He sent us half the photos we have, and over half the information about Morrison," said Chrisman, adding that calendar sales will benefit Historic Everett's educational programs and tours.
David Koenig, manager of long-range planning and community development for the city of Everett, noted that two buildings in the calendar are within the boundaries of the city's new Hewitt Avenue Historic District. The National Park Service has listed the district, including 42 buildings, on the National Register of Historic Places.
Morrison buildings within the district are the six-story Central Building, a Tudor Gothic design at 1712 Hewitt Ave., and Everett Fire Station No. 2 on Oakes Avenue.
Rash is pleased to see Historic Everett telling the stories of structures that make the city unique. "You can't expect people to care about those buildings unless they understand how the buildings came into being," the historian said.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; email@example.com.
Calendar on sale
The 2012 Historic Everett calendar, featuring the architecture of Earl W. Morrison, is available at two Everett locations: J Matheson Gifts, Kitchen and Gourmet, 2615 Colby Ave., and Peak Health & Fitness, 2902 Rucker Ave. The cost is $20.
Learn more about Historic Everett at www.historiceverett.org.
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