This building was constructed in 1948 for Kurtzer Flying Service (Polk 1948-49). It was remodeled and expanded in 1955 to accommodate Kurtzer’s business expansion to include sales of marine supplies (Polk 1955, King County Property Record Card 1957). In the late 1960s the business changed its name to Kurtzen Marine and Flying Service School (Polk 1967).
Kurtzer Flying Service was founded by legendary Seattle Pilot Alana Kurtzer in 1928 at Boeing Field and moved to Lake Union in 1931 (HistoryLink.org Lake Union Walking Tour). An article in the Seattle Daily Times, March 20, 1949, entitled “Shipping, Aviation Near the City Center,” reported: “A haven for aircraft, the lake is used by five flying services.” They included Kurtzer Flying Service, Seattle Sky Harbor, Lake Union Air Service, Aero Marine, Inc., and Seattle Seaplane Service (Seattle Daily Times, 1949). Kurtzer’s flying school was once among the largest in the country, training thousands of aviators who went on to military and commercial careers. The Kurtzer floating seaplane terminal was originally located at the south end of Lake Union, at Terry Avenue North and Valley Street (Seattle Daily Times, 1941). Kurtzer constructed a new facility on the west side of the lake at 950 Westlake Ave. N. in 1947 (Seattle Daily Times, 1947). After Kutzer’s death in 1988 Lake Union Air, another mainstay of the Lake Union floatplane community, which had been founded in 1946 and which competed fiercely with Kurtzer’s for many years, purchased the Kurtzer property. Kenmore Air, now the largest seaplane airline in the world, was founded in 1946 at the north end of Lake Washington. In 1993 Kenmore, which already had a small facility on Lake Union, acquire Lake Union Air and with it the historic Kurtzer property. (Credit: HistoryLink.org Lake Union Walking Tour: http://www.historylink.org/cybertour/pdf/luwalkingtour.pdf, 2012, p. 12.)
This building is largely intact with original aluminum frame storefront windows on the primary facade and vertical wood siding, although a large, incompatible awning structure obscures the upper portion of the front facade and wraps the corner.
R.L. Polk Company, “Polk’s City of Seattle Directory,” 1948-49, 1955, 1967, 1979.
King County Property Record Card (1937-1972), Washington State Archives
Seattle Daily Times, “Seaplane Dock is Towed Home,” Dec. 4, 1941, p. 11.
Seattle Daily Times, “20 Construction Projects O.K’D,” Mar. 13, 1947, p. 10.
Seattle Daily Times, “Shipping, Aviation Near the City Center,” March 20, 1949, p. 103.
HistoryLink.org Lake Union Walking Tour: http://www.historylink.org/cybertour/pdf/luwalkingtour.pdf, 2012, p. 12.