This former Bartell Drugs store is an excellent example of the
relatively ornate neighborhood commercial buildings constructed in the 1920s.
It was built in 1929, during a period of strong commercial growth in West
Seattle, a time that gave this community some of the most ornate stores of any
local business district in the city.
This store remained Bartell Drugs until the 1980s when the chain opened
a larger store at nearby Jefferson Square.
Since that time it has housed several retail stores, a martial arts school and currently, a real estate management firm.
The building was designed in 1929 by V. W. Voorhees, who also designed the nearby J. C. Penney department store. His client for this building was W. T. Campbell, who also built the adjacent Campbell building. Victor W. Voorhees is credited with more than 100 building projects between 1904 and 1929, ranging from cottages and large residences to apartment blocks, auto dealerships, industrial buildings, fraternal halls, office buildings and hotels. He was also known for publishing a popular books of house and bungalow plans in 1907.
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.