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Summary for 4302 SW ALASKA ST SW / Parcel ID 338990115 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Hamm Building Common Name: Hamm Building
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1926
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.

The Hamm Building’s prominent corner location, size, and rich terra cotta ornamentation have made it a vital part of the Junction since its construction in 1925. It was the second major building built by developer W.T. Campbell and was originally called the Crescent Building for its major tenant, Crescent Dry Goods. In 1931 Aline Hamm purchased the building, and it has been known by that name since. Tenants have included a wide variety of grocers, cafes, clothing stores and services such as dentists, beauty shops, barbers, accountants, architects and real estate offices. It currently has a music store, a restaurant and several other tenants. Despite its altered storefronts, it retains much of its original character and prominence. It currently has a music store, a restaurant and several other tenants.

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.




The Hamm Building is rectangular in plan, with two stories. Cladding is buff brick, with extensive cream-colored terra cotta ornamentation including a prominent dentilled cornice and a wide belt course between the second and third floors. Windows are primarily one-over-one double-hung sash, either singly or in pairs, with terra cotta sills. The main entry is on the south side, recessed beneath an arched terra cotta surround. The storefronts have been modernized with new entry doors, enlarged display windows and some new cladding. The west and rear facades have newer aluminum sash.

Detail for 4302 SW ALASKA ST SW / Parcel ID 338990115 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick 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: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
West Seattle Herald. West Side Story, 1987.
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.

Photo collection for 4302 SW ALASKA ST SW / Parcel ID 338990115 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Mar 31, 2015

Photo taken Mar 31, 2015
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