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Summary for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Historic Name: Vann's/Shafran's Common Name: Van Building
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1929

This building, constructed in 1929, is associated with early development of the West Seattle Junction business district. It housed some important businesses--Woolworth's (1929 until the late 1940s) and Vann Brothers restaurant (1934-1985). It also had several Shafran's apparel stores in the 1950s-1970s. The two storefronts were modernized in the 1950s.

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 masonry building has two modern angled storefronts with metal sash display windows extending almost to the ground. Cladding is flagstone below the windows and stucco above. The building is topped by a stepped parapet and the words "Vann Bldg 1929" along with cast stone embellishment of acanthus leaves and dentils.

Detail for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Stone, 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): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Moderate
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 this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Photo taken Nov 11, 2015
App v2.0.1.0