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Summary for 4458 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 095200-6244 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Neilsen Florist Common Name: Shadowland/Forsythe Studio
Style: Art Deco - Streamline Moderne Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1948

This distinctive building, constructed in 1948 is associated with post- War II development in West Seattle Junction business district. This distinctive building was Neilsen Florists from 1948 until 2006. The glass block and curved canopy reflect its 1940s date.

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 two-story Moderne building has Roman brick cladding on the first story with stucco on the second floor, which is painted with a blue-and-black trope l'oiel pattern. The angled corner entry has new metal frame display windows and a curved flat canopy.  The second story has two long horizontal glass block windows (a third one may be hidden by a sign), with three small windows toward the rear. The corner has an angled blade sign that contributes to the building's Moderne style. The sco0dn storefront also has newer display windows. At the rear is a one-story flat-roofed addition with Roman brick cladding and six newer metal sash windows. The rear elevation has clapboard cladding, newer windows and stairs to a small rear porch and entry.


Detail for 4458 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 095200-6244 / Inv # 0

Status: No - Altered
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stucco, Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Specialty store Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: two
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce
Changes to Windows: Slight
Storefront: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Moderate
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, 1910-1948.

Photo collection for 4458 CALIFORNIA AVE / Parcel ID 095200-6244 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Aug 17, 2015
App v2.0.1.0