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Summary for 4711 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 149530-0025 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Junction Food Store Common Name: ArtsWest Playhouse & Gallery
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1928
This 1928 building is associated with early development of the West Seattle Junction business district, but is more strongly associated with the cultural development of neighborhood in the late 20th century. The building has seen numerous changes. In 1937, it housed the Junction Food Store and Van de Kamp's Bakery. It was a one-story brick building clad with terra cotta with an ornamental cornice. In 1953, the Pacific Dime Store with a canopy and prominent signs replaced the market. In 1965, it was completely modernized with Marblecrete cladding replacing the terra cotta; the main tenant was Meredith's dime store. In 1998-2000, it was transformed again into the ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery.

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 masonry building has a tall main floor with a mezzanine and a full finished basement. The flat roof has a stepped parapet and an ornamented cornice.  The stucco-clad façade has a center entry with newer glass-and-metal doors and large display windows.  A suspended canopy extends across the façade, with small window above the canopy. The rear façade is also stucco clad, with a loading door and a rear entry with a ramp and small canopy.

Detail for 4711 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 149530-0025 / Inv # 0

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Stucco Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Specialty store Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Arts, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Extensive
Storefront: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
West Seattle Herald. West Side Story, 1987.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.

Photo collection for 4711 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 149530-0025 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Nov 11, 2015
App v2.0.1.0