You are here

Longmire Administration Building

-A A +A
1927–1928, Thomas C. Vint. 47015 Paradise Rd. E.
  • (Photograph by Robert R. Franklin)
  • (Photograph by Robert R. Franklin)
  • (Photograph by Robert R. Franklin)
  • (Photograph by J. Philip Gruen)
  • (Photograph by J. Philip Gruen)
  • (Photograph by J. Philip Gruen)
  • (Photograph by J. Philip Gruen)
  • (Photograph by J. Philip Gruen)
  • Rear elevation (Photograph by J. Philip Gruen)
  • Facade detail (Photograph by J. Philip Gruen)
  • Fireplace (Photograph by J. Philip Gruen)
  • Interior detail (Photograph by J. Philip Gruen)
  • Interior detail (Photograph by J. Philip Gruen)

Located southwest of Paradise Inn at the base of Mount Rainier, the Longmire Administration Building is a quintessential example of the National Park Service Rustic style. The structure, completed in 1928, epitomizes the National Park Service’s early-twentieth-century desire to harmonize with nature by artfully employing the rich materials offered by a building’s surroundings.

Taking architectural direction from buildings in Yosemite National Park, the two-story Longmire Administration Building defines a particular Pacific Northwest character through the use of glacial and forest elements. Such elements were painstakingly sought out by a team of designers, led by Thomas C. Vint of the National Park Service Landscape Engineering Division, to ensure its adherence to a rustic aesthetic while adapting the style to reflect the region’s unique natural resources. Vint initiated his plans for the building in 1927 and ground broke the following May under the direction of Ernest A. Davidson. Although the second floor was unfinished, the Administration Building was operational by November 1928.

Large glacial boulders on the building’s exterior are perhaps the most immediately identifiable example of local character: these boulders came from the park itself. Specifically, the naturally smooth stones provide a veneer from the foundation to the second-story windows, helping to visually anchor the building to its immediate surroundings. Particular attention was paid to conceal the building’s corners in order to dissolve the unnatural rectilinear form of its foundation. Similarly, the upper level of the facade features wood framing sheathed in log siding, lending the appearance of log and timber framing that mirrors both the scale and material of the surrounding trees. This motif is further explored through the gable roof’s shingles, which are made from native cedar.

While the interior has undergone minor alterations since its construction, the original character of the space is largely unchanged. The building features a log porch leading to a set of French doors topped with massive log lintels signaling the transition from the natural to the built environment. These rustic elements are similarly reflected inside with log slab moldings around the windows and doors, and further developed through the use of horizontal log-slab siding, locally sourced hardwood floors, and a log-veneered information desk. Glacial boulders reappear at a more intimate scale around a fireplace in the lobby, referencing the moraine deposits dotting the landscape outside.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Holly Giermann
Coordinator: 
J. Philip Gruen
Robert R. Franklin
×

Data

Timeline

  • 1927

    Design and construction

What's Nearby

Citation

Holly Giermann, "Longmire Administration Building", [Centralia, Washington], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WA-01-053-0045-02.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,