Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for 4863-4865 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702900855 / Inv #

Historic Name: Phalen Hall Common Name: Pet Elegance
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Columbia City
Built By: Year Built: 1892; 1901; 1941
This building was built in 1892 by the fraternal order known as the Knights of Pythias; it was originally an imposing two story frame building with an ornate false front. It was known as the Knights of Pythias Hall, as the second story had a large hall used for community events. The building was purchased in 1901 by William W. Phalen, a grocer and former professional baseball player originally from the east coast, who had recently settled in Columbia City. Phalen had worked for the for the Weiss family grocery business in North Dakota, and had moved to Columbia City with them. Phalen opened a grocery in the north storefront and it quickly became the largest grocery in the area. It employed solicitors on horseback to take grocery orders and several wagons to deliver groceries. Originally known as the Reliance General Store, Phalen soon renamed it W.W. Phalen, Your Grocer. The building became known as Phalen Hall. Phalen was an active community member, organizing a baseball team and a volunteer fire department soon after he arrived in Columbia City. He was elected mayor in 1905 and again in 1907. He organized an annual community event called the Rainier Valley Fiesta that was held in 1915, 1916 and 1917. Phalen died of a heart attack in 1917 while attending the baseball World Series in New York City. By the 1930s, the ornate turrets on the false front of the building had been removed and the façade bricked over. In April 1941, a fire that began in the Columbia Electric Bakery destroyed the second story of the building. The first story escaped intact, because the upstairs wood dance floor protected the lower floor, so the building was repaired and continued in use as a one story building. Architect Jones Stanley was responsible for the repair and reconstruction. Other business tenants who occupied the subject buidling included Beehive Marketerias, Inc., Steele and Sons Radio and Electric, and the Columbia Electric Bakery. Tenants in the south storefront included Studley’s Columbia Drug Store, Brassington’s Market, Redwood’s Grocery Store and Maury’s Bootery. Although greatly altered from its original appearance, the subject building is significant for its historic importance in the community during Columbia City’s first fifty years, from 1892 to 1941. It was the site of community meetings and events in the second story hall and the location of a significant business, W.W. Phalen’s Grocery, on the first story.
This extensively altered single story commercial building is of frame construction and is supported by a concrete foundation. The building has a flat roof with a flat metal canopy and a rectangular plan. The building is clad in stucco siding, with diagonal board siding above the storefront bays. The two storefront bays have inset entries flanked by large windows. The building originally featured transom windows, which have since been removed. In 1941, a fire destroyed the hipped roof and second story of the building. The original brick veneer was replaced with stucco and glazed tile; the glazed tile has since been removed.

Detail for 4863-4865 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702900855 / Inv #

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Ceramic tile, Stucco, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Business Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Storefront: Extensive
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
Balch, Mary Ann. “W.W. Phalen was Businessman and Town Leader,” Beacon Hill News/South District Journal, page 16, 9/25/1996.
Centennial History, Columbia City, Rainier Valley, 1853-1991, Pioneers of Columbia City. Seattle, Washington, 1992.

Photo collection for 4863-4865 Rainier AVE / Parcel ID 1702900855 / Inv #

Photo taken Mar 22, 2004
App v2.0.1.0