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Summary for 4740 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 7579200085 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Ware & Hosey Inc. Common Name: Curious Kids Stuff
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1928
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.

This is a good and relatively intact example of the small but ornate commercial buildings that distinguished the West Seattle business district in the 1920s. It was an appliance store for many years, first Ware & Hosey and later Malody Appliances. From the beginning of the twentieth century West Seattle flourished as an independent business district with its own department stores and large specialty stores such as appliance dealers. Many of the stores, like this one, featured terra cotta and tile detailing much like larger downtown stores. These lasted until the 1970s, when stores consolidated and malls brought the closure of numerous smaller stores, often leaving many vacancies in neighborhood business districts. In 1956, Ware & Hosey modernized the façade by covering the tall transom windows with vertical wood cladding. A later owner removed this alteration, restoring the building to closer to its original appearance.

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 simple one-story commercial building of buff brick is distinguished by its terra cotta trim, with turban-shaped finials and medallions on the three pilasters and a terra cotta cornice. Large transom windows bring light into the interior. The bulkhead below the store windows is clad in black tile, which dates at least to the 1937 Assessor's photo. The storefronts and windows have been slightly modernized with newer steel-and-glass doors.

Detail for 4740 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 7579200085 / 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: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
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 4740 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 7579200085 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Mar 31, 2015
App v2.0.1.0