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Summary for 4553 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 338990-0100 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: McReynolds Jewelers Common Name: Optix/Pegasus Books/Terjung's
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1923
This building, constructed in 1923, is associated with early development of the West Seattle Junction business district. It was remodeled in 1940 with modern storefronts and black marble cladding; it was later remodeled again with flagstone and wood on the storefronts. It has had a great variety of businesses, including numerous clothing stores (for both men and women), several jewelers, grocery stores and many others. The current gift store has been here since 1964.

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 building is of masonry construction with a flat roof with a parapet.  It has three recessed storefronts with angled metal sash display windows. The cladding is flagstone around and below the storefronts with vertical boards on the upper part of the façade. The rear façade is of painted clay tile with rear entries and small steel-sash windows.

Detail for 4553 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 338990-0100 / Inv # 0

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stone, Vertical - Boards 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): Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
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 4553 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 338990-0100 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Mar 31, 2015
App v2.0.1.0