The original south wing of this shoe factory building was constructed for August Felder (1851-1938) a German-born boot maker who immigrated to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">United States</st1:country-region> c.1885. [Mrs. Emila Felder who was also of German decent was also a shoemaker.] By c.1893 he had established a lucrative boot and shoe manufacturing company in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Seattle. It became very successful and he subsequently sold it to the Bone Dry Shoe Company of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Tacoma at an unknown date with the intension of retiring.
Felder began purchasing property in East Park Addition c. 1901 where he built a family home at <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">1134 Eastlake Avenue E. In 1906 he apparently re-established a new shoe factory at <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">2507 Western Avenue – the Felder Shoe Co. – which specialized like his prior operation in manufacturing logger’s boots.
By 1917 the local boot and shoe manufacturing business was booming. Seattle was established as the shoe making center of PNW – turning from primarily building loggers boots and workman’s footwear to men’s and women’s street and dress shoes. Reportedly, local plants manufactured eleven hundred pairs a day – 55% of which went to world export market. It was during this period that Felder established a second plant manufacturing plant at this site, near his home.
Seattle building permit records indicate that Permit #155444 was issued to the owner - August Felder - on 1-29-1917 in order to “Build a 2 story Brick Shoe Factory as per plans - 24 x 56” at a cost of $1,800. The permit lists E.G. Albin as the contractor; however, no architect was noted on the permit. This original south wing of the building was completed by 5-26-17 and initially housed the R & C Shoe Co. The operation became subsequently known as the Buffalo Shoe Co. and the building as the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Buffalo <st1:placetype w:st="on">Building. The plant specialized in manufacturing logging and workman’s boots where they employed skilled hand shoemakers and lasters (makers of shoemakers’ models for shaping and/or repairing a shoe or boot).
During this period there were several other shoe factories in operation in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Seattle including: Seattle Wooden Shoe Company, Washington Shoe Company, Zimmerman-Degan Shoe Company and Currin-Greene Shoe Manufacturing Co. The original wing of the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Buffalo <st1:placetype w:st="on">Building exhibited a two-part commercial block façade with a decorated parapet and large storefront (display) windows and an offset recessed entryway at the ground floor and four double-hung windows in rectangular openings at the second floor; it appears to have been altered in 1921 and 1927. In 1945 the older building underwent a major remodel and a north wing measuring 31’ x 56’ was added. The original parapet was removed, the storefront level was modernized and a new recessed central entry was created. Based on a 1947 Assessor’s photograph, the current façade composition and fenestration pattern are very similar to the photo. The building was again remodeled in 1972 and continued in operation as a shoe factory – specializing in the manufacturing of logging boots and hiking boots until Dec 1984. It was then used for various commercial office purposes and further remodeled with a rear addition in 2000.