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Summary for 4412 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 095200-6160 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: U.S. Post Office Common Name: U. S. Post Office
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1949

This building, constructed in 1949, is associated with World War II-era development of the West Seattle Junction business district. It was an important asset for the Junction, replacing a smaller station at 4739 California Avenue SW. It reflects the increased automotive focus of the Junction at the time.


The Junction, West Seattle's primary commercial district, acquired its name in 1907 when a new street car line on California Avenue SW was extended south to Fauntleroy Park, crossing the Admiral streetcar line at SW Alaska Street. West Seattle, incorporated as a city in 1902, had built the Admiral line--the nation’s first municipally-owned streetcar line. At first, the Junction was just a swamp with a few real estate offices, but in 1907 West Seattle voted to be annexed to Seattle. Enhanced transportation and new amenities, accompanied by heavy promotion, encouraged a real estate boom, with new residents rapidly buying lots and building homes. Jefferson School opened in 1912, and had to be expanded in 1917. The 1920s brought significant growth, with major stores such as Ernst Hardware, Bartell Drugs, a J. C. Penney department store and two "five and dimes"--Woolworth's and Kress. Although development slowed during the Depression, the proximity of defense industries brought many new residents during World War II.  The Junction thrived into the 1950s with several modern retail buildings and larger stores. By the 1980s, however, competition from shopping malls made the Junction's stores less competitive. J.C. Penney left in 1987 and many other retailers selling common items such as clothing closed, generally replaced by restaurants, bars and service businesses. In 1985, a large retail/office/residential project was built on the former site of Jefferson Elementary School. In the early 1990s, the City of Seattle adopted a comprehensive plan that focused growth in "urban villages," including the Junction. By 2010, numerous single-story buildings were being replaced by six-story mixed-use structures with underground parking, significantly changing the district’s character.



  This one-story concrete building has an L-shaped plan with a large loading dock in the southeast wing. The main façade has Roman brick cladding and a recessed entry with double doors at the north end. South of the entry is a bank of 11 tall windows with aluminum sash; each has four lights, divided horizontally. A narrow pent roof extends across the façade above the windows. The loading dock at the rear has concrete walls and a wood roof supported by three metal posts.

Detail for 4412 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 095200-6160 / Inv # 0

Classication: Building District Status: INV, INV
Cladding(s): Brick - Roman, Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Government - Post Office Plan: L-Shape
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Community Planning/Development, Politics/Government/Law
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
West Seattle Herald. West Side Story, 1987.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.

Photo collection for 4412 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 095200-6160 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jan 10, 2016

Photo taken Jan 10, 2016
App v2.0.1.0