Troy Laundry Facade

307 Fairview Avenue N

Troy Laundry Building, Seattle, December 30, 2007, Photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Amazon Troy Block, Seattle, August 13, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Architectural detail, Troy Laundry Building, Seattle, August 13, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Troy Laundry Building, Seattle, 1975, Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives (179601)
Troy Laundry sign in downtown Portland, Oregon, Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives (46971)
Troy Laundry (far left), 4th Avenue North and Republican Street, ca. 1912, Courtesy Paul Dorpat

Troy Laundry was one of numerous commercial laundry operations in the Cascade neighborhood in the 1920s. Because in-home washing machines and dryers were not yet common, many Seattle residents sent weekly bundles of dirty clothes and linens to commercial facilities. Horse-drawn delivery wagons, and later trucks, picked up the bundles and returned their contents washed, starched, ironed, and folded. By 1948, Troy was the largest such laundry in the Pacific Northwest.

The patterned brickwork and white terra cotta façade are all that remains of the former Troy Laundry. Look closely at the terra cotta cartouche above the entrance (north on Fairview Avenue) to see a woman’s head, thought to represent Helen of Troy. On March 11, 1996, the City of Seattle designated Troy Laundry as a City Landmark. Despite this protection, developers argued that it was necessary to demolish everything but the façade — a process known as facadism or a facadectomy — because it was more economically feasible than more adaptive reuse.

From here, cut through the carapace of the Troy Building to reach Boren Avenue.

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