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Summary for 9439 16th AVE / Parcel ID 9352901220 / Inv # WS016

Historic Name: Rozella Building Common Name: Rozella Building
Style: Commercial Neighborhood: Westwood/Highland Park
Built By: unknown Year Built: 1926
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This is one of the earliest and most intact commercial buildings in the White Center neighborhood, and one of the few early mixed use structures in the area. With the tremendous growth of the 1920s a new commercial district grew up at the south end of West Seattle, near the intersection of 16th Avenue SW, White Center Place (now Delridge Way) and SE Roxbury Street. Little growth occurred here until the streetcar line to Lake Burien began running in 1912; the following decade brought new residents, and the need for a commercial district. Roxbury has been the city line in this area since 1907, and much of the commercial district is in unincorporated King County. The building is north of the triangle where 16th and Delridge meet, and is sited in an unusual manner, extending all the way from Delridge to 16th parallel to Roxbury and facing a large mid-block parking lot that may gave once been a street. The Rozella Building was one of several nearby buildings constructed by Hiram Green, one of the founders of White Center. The building is named for one of his four daughters, Rozella. He owned five acres along SW Roxbury Street. On the other side of Roxbury (outside the city limits) he built the first White Center Theater, a drugstore, a bakery and the White Center Arena, which is still operating as the Southgate Roller Skating Rink. About 1918, Green participated in a coin toss with fellow entrepreneur George White to name the budding community; Green lost the toss, so the area was named White Center. According to a 1937 map of the White Center business district, the Rozella building had a cabinet shop, a radio repair shop, a barber and a beauty parlor. Later tenants have been as varied as a sewing machine repair shop and a used furniture store. The office of the White Center News was also located here for some years.
This unusual building of buff brick faces south, with the main entrance and most storefronts facing a large parking lot rather than the adjacent streets. The parapet rises to a shallow gable in the center. It is capped with terra cotta which is also seen in the wide belt course above the second floor windows and the capitols of the pilasters, at transom level. The storefronts are largely intact, with paneled wood bulkheads, wood sash and wood-and-glass doors; they are flush, not recessed, as was often seen during this era. Transoms are intact but have been painted over. Two suspended wood-and-metal canopies shelter the storefronts. Between them is the arched apartment entrance, with a wide terra cotta surround, an original wood door and the word "Rozella" with rosettes. Medallions with a rose motif are also found above the second floor windows, which have aluminum sash in the orignal wood surrounds.

Detail for 9439 16th AVE / Parcel ID 9352901220 / Inv # WS016

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Domestic - Multiple Family Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Commerce
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
West Seattle Herald. West Side Story, 1987.
Young, Peg, and Mike Knapp, White Center Remembers, 1976.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Polk's Seattle Directories, 1890-1996.

Photo collection for 9439 16th AVE / Parcel ID 9352901220 / Inv # WS016

Photo taken Jul 08, 2002
App v2.0.1.0