Elliott Bay Brewing in The Junction working on a new, ‘old’ look

May 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm | In West Seattle history, West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants | 35 Comments

A recently issued permit for a “new storefront” at Elliott Bay Brewing Company in The Junction sparked our curiosity – so we stopped by today to find out what’s up. Elliott Bay Brewing owner Todd Carden tells WSB he’s been thinking for months about facade work that will leave the building looking a little more like what it looked like decades ago. And even just with a bit of work, he’s uncovered some history:

The inscribed bricks shown in our photos are part of what he uncovered while out doing some work today – with the inscriptions 1932, above, and below, GJ Vayhinger:

(Who was GJ Vayhinger? So far, we’ve only found one reference, in a Google Book search result about a national board of hardware sellers. Help, Junction historians!) Carden says he doesn’t have the plan completely finalized yet – he’s still exploring options. There are even windows under the current facade, so he’s going to see what kind of shape they’re in, to possibly let some more light into his establishment. So be on the lookout for a “new ‘old’ look” at Elliott Bay!

4:14 PM UPDATE: WSB’ers have been researching GJ Vayhinger while we were working on other stories – read their discoveries in the comment section – and the research indicates he indeed ran a West Seattle hardware store!


  1. Oh I love that! 1932 – the year my mom was born in West Seattle. :-)

    Comment by Mookie — 2:38 pm May 3, 2011 #

  2. I drove by while they were working on this..thanks, I was curious!

    Comment by Amy Kramer Hawks — 3:02 pm May 3, 2011 #

  3. can’t wait to see what else he discovers

    Comment by Marge — 3:04 pm May 3, 2011 #

  4. I checked with my mom who has lived in West Seattle all her 78 years and she recalls there being a Vayhinger’s Hardware store at that location.

    Comment by Kris — 3:27 pm May 3, 2011 #

  5. I checked the 1930 Federal Census for a “G J Vayhinger” and found Gus J. Vayhinger, age 52, his wife Ruth, age 38, and daughters Virginia, age 13 and Florence, age 10, living at 5422 42nd Ave. S.W. He is listed as the proprietor of a hardware store. In the 1920 census he, his wife and daughters are living in Montesano and he is a salesman at a hardware store.

    Comment by sc — 3:33 pm May 3, 2011 #

  6. Just checked King County Property Records and the store was built in 1932!

    Comment by sc — 3:40 pm May 3, 2011 #

  7. I’m not willing to pony up the $, but this page from the West Seattle Herald apparently mentions GJ Vayhinger:


    Comment by hammer — 3:42 pm May 3, 2011 #

  8. indeed it appears he was proprietor of Junction Hardware.

    Comment by hammer — 3:45 pm May 3, 2011 #

  9. Wouldn’t it be great if this one act of a slight remodel would inspire other property owners to get rid of those false store fronts!

    Comment by triangle resident — 3:47 pm May 3, 2011 #

  10. Thanks, Hammer. I hadn’t gotten around to those pay-for-archives searches yet, have been working on a couple other stories. And thank you Kris and sc – I appreciate the research help (was working on a Trader Joe’s story, just published, and we all know the priority THAT has to take … though I have a very soft spot for history!) – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:48 pm May 3, 2011 #

  11. Now I’m recall that last time I was in Elliot Bay I saw the windows that will be exposed if they tear off the facade. Please do! It will be a huge improvement, IMO.

    Comment by hammer — 3:53 pm May 3, 2011 #

  12. I absolutely agree, triangle! So many cool facades covered in an attempt to modernize on the cheap in the 50′s-70′s. They looked bad back then, and age hasn’t been an improvement. I hope more tenants/landlords see the value in what they are doing at EBB.

    Comment by dawsonct — 3:59 pm May 3, 2011 #

  13. Triangle and Dawsonct – totally agree.

    Comment by Kim Sharpe Jones — 4:06 pm May 3, 2011 #

  14. Found the WWI draft registration record for Gustavus Jackson Vayhinger, with wife Ruth, living in Montesano, WA in 1918.

    Also in the Washington State Digital Archives records (which are free) found a Gus J. Vayhinger who died in 1949.
    In the same database found daughter Virginia who married a Ray Soldwell in 1963 and she died in 2007. Daughter Florence married a Gordon S. Clinton in 1942 and she died in 1988.
    Could not find Ruth Hayvinger in this database.

    Comment by sc — 4:13 pm May 3, 2011 #

  15. Hey! For those that haven’t already noticed – Gordon S. Clinton was the well regarded mayor or Seattle from 1956-1964 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Clinton

    Comment by mmphelps — 4:52 pm May 3, 2011 #

  16. After they finish the facade, maybe they can do some work on the inside. The upstairs area is lookin beat these days and the bathrooms are gross.

    Comment by Jsv — 6:12 pm May 3, 2011 #

  17. Is that specific location spared from the Conner Homes construction? Agreed its WAY COOL to find this information out about our buildings! I am SO OVER the cheap and crappy looking new stuff.

    Comment by coffee — 7:57 pm May 3, 2011 #

  18. Coffee, the Conner property ends just north of Talarico’s. Definitely does not stretch down to EBB.

    Comment by WSB — 8:44 pm May 3, 2011 #

  19. I think it’s great that a little bit of history was found/exposed and I like the look. With that said, I do like what the new Irish pub, A Terrible Beauty did to the front of their place – it’s quite impressive.

    Comment by sun*e — 8:45 am May 4, 2011 #

  20. Love the old facades, several years ago when Morton Drug was changing to Pharmaca they uncovered the original facade. We were so excited to see that beautiful brick roof line and all the creative brick work, only to be covered up again!! UGH ;(

    Comment by Silly Goose — 9:16 am May 4, 2011 #

  21. It would be absolutely amazing to see this store front restored to it’s original design. It would be the rare jewel among the mundane that rules the junction. The Morgan junction is so much better for all of the store fronts that have remained or been restored to resemble their original configurations.

    Comment by Jordan — 10:39 am May 4, 2011 #

  22. I thought the name Gorden S. Clinton sounded familiar but he was Seattle mayor from 1956-1964 and I was in grade school!
    I found this from Historylink.org
    Interview of Gordon S. Clinton with Walt Crowley March 30, 2004
    “Then I was released from active service and my wife Florence (Vayanger) — her father was a businessman in West Seattle — we married December 19, 1942. It will be 62 years this December. She is a very brave gal to put up with me. We met at a church camp at Epworth Heights for Methodist kids from Seattle, Tacoma, Auburn, and the area. I was with the First Methodist Church and she was from Tibbets Methodist Church in West Seattle.”

    Comment by sc — 10:43 am May 4, 2011 #

  23. I haven’t read all the comments, but check with the Loghouse Museum for possible old picutres. They have a book of photos from businesses in West Seattle through the decades which may be helpful.

    Comment by pjk — 10:49 am May 4, 2011 #

  24. Good goin’ Todd! Been patronizing your place since it opened, and many times I’ve looked from the inside out at those top windows and thought about how great your place would look if they were uncovered.

    Just say the word and I’ll grab my pry-bars be right over to help out!

    Comment by pjmanley — 11:27 am May 4, 2011 #

  25. Very cool story, I like that they are preserving our history instead of destroying it.

    Comment by Recall McGinn — 3:26 pm May 4, 2011 #

  26. That is great! Now, if only their burgers had not been frozen since 1932. The beer is fine, but fresh beef would go great with the new “old” facade.

    Comment by BHP — 9:34 pm May 4, 2011 #

  27. Here’s a free version of a Herald archive article that shows a Junction Hardware ad with “GJ Vayhinger, prop.” at the Elliot Bay BP’s address.

    page 4 – “Fuller (paint) Sale” ad

    Comment by MargL — 9:54 pm May 4, 2011 #

  28. Well, that kind of seals it. Thanks all! Love this. Can’t help but think that for those concerned about losing history and character as the area is inevitably redeveloped … this is the antidote … celebrating what’s there, what lies beneath but can be found again … TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:04 pm May 4, 2011 #

  29. I absolutely love this trend, and hope many other storefronts follow. Restored vintage would suit our little village of West Seattle very well.

    Comment by anonyme — 4:09 pm May 5, 2011 #

  30. I went outside Talaricos where I have worked for 5 years and saw the date on the wall.. I thought, was that there the whole time and I didnt notice? Now I see…

    Comment by AW — 9:13 pm May 7, 2011 #

  31. Hooray! I commend Elliot Bay for doing this. I’ve long felt that the entire W.S. Junction should be restored to its original historic look rather than the mishmash of the dated and ugly facades that have been added over the years.

    Comment by Ray West — 4:33 am May 10, 2011 #

  32. BHP, where did you get the idea the burgers are frozen? Not true! Fresh, fresh, fresh.

    Comment by fiz — 8:44 am May 10, 2011 #

  33. very cool info! there are some super-sleuths on the job. i have a historical but off-topic question. can anyone recommend how i might find out who lived in my west seattle home previously? thanks in advance!

    Comment by karen — 1:48 pm May 10, 2011 #

  34. Obiturary from the Seattle Times, December 5, 1949, page 8.

    Funeral services for Gus J. Vahinger, 72 years old, a West Seattle Hardware dealer, will be held at 2 0′clock tomorrow in the White Funeral Home, with burial in Washington Memorial Park.
    Mr Vayhinger, 2211 45th Ave SW, died yesterday in a hospital.
    Mr Vayhinger, born in Delaware, Ind., came to Washington in 1906, opening a hardware store in Montesano, Grays Habor County. He came to Seattle 28 years ago.
    Mr. Vayhinger was owner of the Junction Hardware store. He was also a director of the West Side Savings ∧ Loan Association. He was a member of Tibbetts Methodist Church; Alki Lodge No. 152, F&AM; West Seattle Lodge No. 45, Royal Arch Masons, and West Seattle Chapter No 106 Order of Eastern Star. he was a past master of Montesano Lodge, F & A M.
    Surviving are his wife, Ruth M.; two daughers, Virginia Vahinger and Mrs Florence Clinton, Seattler; three brothers, Ira Vayhinger, Cedarville, Ohio; Bert Vayhinger, Madison, Ind., and Edwind Valhinger, Logaan, Iowa, and a sister, Mrs Ada Dole, and two grandchildren, Barbara and Gordon Clinton Jr.

    Comment by Gina — 5:50 pm May 11, 2011 #

  35. NOOOOO!!! What is EBBP thinking??? Why the heck did you go through ALL that trouble to expose the facade JUST to PAINT IT!?!?!??! Couldn’t you have left the beautiful old brick there and restored/sealed it (I keep thinking how amazingly beautiful the cupcake bld. bricks look)..

    I love the trend to bring the character back, but SHEEESH..if it’s original brick..DON”T PAINT IT!!! Protect it and seal it and let it be.

    Comment by grr — 4:39 pm May 14, 2011 #

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