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Summary for 4508 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 095200-6275 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: West Seattle Flower Shop Common Name: West Seattle Cyclery/Lee's/Kamei
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1924
 
Significance
This building, constructed in 1929, is associated with early development of the West Seattle Junction business district.   A variety of businesses have operated in these three storefronts since 1924, including clothing stores, music shops and restaurants. The tenant who probably had the longest tenure was the West Seattle Flower Shop, from the 1960s into the 1990s. The storefronts have all been altered.

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.

 
Appearance

This one-story masonry building has three distinct storefronts, all with modern aluminum sash display windows, recessed entries and fabric awnings. Cladding above the storefronts and in the rear is brick, with Roman brick and metal panels on the storefronts. The rear façade has rear entries and loading doors.

Detail for 4508 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 095200-6275 / Inv # 0

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Brick, Brick - Roman, Metal Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Specialty store Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Commerce
Integrity
Changes to Plan: Intact
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
West Seattle Herald. West Side Story, 1987.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.
King County Tax Assessor Records, ca. 1932-1972.

Photo collection for 4508 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 095200-6275 / Inv # 0


Photo taken Mar 31, 2015

Photo taken Mar 31, 2015
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