The Junction’s second main street

Several of the projects already in the pipeline will make 42nd the “second Main Street of The Junction” more than ever. One wasn’t really on my radar till we walked along 42nd yesterday, from the north edge of the Junction down to Jefferson Square. This one saddens me a bit. At 4532 42nd, if you look behind and over the fencing and the overgrowth, there’s a huge old house with some style and flair (despite what must be, by now, years of neglect and disrepair). It almost looks like a Southern plantation house, with a huge balcony under the eaves on its top story. The golden-yellow land-use-ap sign in front has been there so long, somebody has tagged it; the online information doesn’t say a whole lot, though the architect who’s listed seems to be associated with the fabled Roger Newell — it’s just listed as another proposed “mixed-use” building. I know old houses come down all the time so the land can be cleared for condos, townhomes, “mixed use,” whatever, but few of them are as striking as this one. I’d bet it has a bit of history, too. (And in fact, Googling its address just before finishing this post, I found it on a document of “cultural and historical resources” that were “inventoried” at some point along the way in the monorail studies. Hmm. Might have to check with the Log House Museum people on this one.)

4 Replies to "The Junction's second main street"

  • Jan S. August 13, 2006 (3:56 pm)

    it’s such a shame that someone could neglect a building like that…and then let it turn into more apartments.It seems that no matter where you look now, West Seattle is on condo and apartment overload. Just yesterday some friends and I were talking about the great influx of these new builds, and one mentioned how different Alki looks now from a boat out off the shore…mile after mile of high rises…such a change.I suppose it’s “progress”, but what a shame.

  • WS Guy August 13, 2006 (6:27 pm)

    That building is a historic one, as it is believed to be the first hospital in West Seattle. It opened in 1912 and operated as a maternity ward in the 1920’s. (source: West Side Story)

    I am not sure what left it in such a state of disrepair. I contacted the preservation group Historic Seattle and unfortunately they were not made aware of it until recently. To my knowledge there was no effort to designate it as a landmark or to sell it for restoration.

    The number of condos and townhouses that are descending on West Seattle is outrageous. West Seattle also faces mega-homes from developers like OMNI construction, loss of urban trees, and other insensitive infill (as it’s called) like short-platting. This is doing serious damage to West Seattle’s character, and I fear will push the local & bridge traffic beyond reason. Visit Fremont and Wallingford/Stone Ave and you’ll see what can happen to a cool neighborhood.

    The result? I’ve lived here for many years and loved it, but I’m considering moving out.

    In Queen Anne, their community has formed an organization to combat this problem, called Queen Anne Neighbors for Responsible Growth ( As you walk down their streets, you’ll see a QANRG sign on every other lawn. If you (the blogger) have the time and energy to do it, then I’d encourage you to mobilize us like they’ve done in Queen Anne.

    The damage here is already more severe than up on QA hill, and the messages that I’ve gotten back from the DPD have been discouraging, but there may yet be some good we can do here.

  • WS Guy August 25, 2006 (8:07 pm)

    Here is some closure on this. Christine Palmer of Historic Seattle researched this and said:

    Although it has not yet been part of the City’s survey of historic sites, apparently the old hospital building on 42nd Avenue has been incrementally altered over the decades and has lost sufficient historic integrity so that it is no longer deemed significant to the community’s heritage. Consequently it is not eligible for a landmark designation and is not protected against demolition. This determination was made by City Planning staff who conducted state-mandated enviromental review of the site before the demolition permit was issued.

    Not all old buildings are historically significant and we try to focus on those which are. For a greater understanding of these issues, I encourage you to attend Historic Seattle’s Landmarks Nomination Workshop on October 14. You can enroll at\?id=187.

  • chet_desmond December 7, 2006 (11:48 am)

    WS Guy – I feel the same way you do. Well said!

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