West Seattle history: Homes for sale, less than $2,000!

In the Admiral District, Laurie is remodeling her 1917 home … and, after pulling up the old floors, found them lined with 1917 newspapers, with plenty of clues as to the state of the 1917 housing market. Yes, those prices above are the actual full listing prices. 4556 California, the office advertising above, is the address of Cupcake Royale today; the address in this next item currently would place you at California/Dawson, north side of the Rite-Aid parking lot:

Laurie also found the Olympus Theater‘s weekly promotional pages:

The “Olympus Weekly” places the theater at California and Lander in the Admiral District. This December 1917 page touts silent movies starring Mary Pickford, Maxine Elliott, Ann Pennington, and Dustin Farnum:

(Click for a larger view)
The bottom of the “Olympus Weekly” page carried ads for other businesses, including one that tells us which newspaper Laurie found beneath the floorboards:

A check of the 1987-published West Seattle history book “West Side Story” reveals “The West Seattle Press” was published 1908-1918, known by a few other names along the way, including “The West Side Press.” Thanks to Laurie for sharing what she found!

18 Replies to "West Seattle history: Homes for sale, less than $2,000!"

  • Harry Reems May 28, 2012 (8:30 pm)

    Amazing find!!!! Thanks for sharing this piece of history.

  • MB May 28, 2012 (8:55 pm)

    AMAZING!! Also sickening to see how times have changed and how expensive property is these days. Although in reality its cheap for these times!

  • ArborH May 28, 2012 (8:58 pm)

    Very cool. It’s like an unintended time capsule!

  • sam-c May 28, 2012 (9:00 pm)

    that’s so cool. love it

  • miws May 28, 2012 (9:28 pm)

    Wow! How cool!


    Mary Pickford

    Maxine Elliott

    Ann Pennington

    Dustin Farnum



  • cjboffoli May 28, 2012 (9:31 pm)

    $1,700 in 1917 dollars would be comparable to around $30,500 today. Quite the bargain!

  • Bonnie May 28, 2012 (9:37 pm)

    Very cool!! Thanks for sharing.

  • islewrite May 28, 2012 (10:05 pm)

    If/when she’s willing, the Log House Museum might be interested in the pages for preservation’s sake. Thanks for sharing your find!

  • KD May 28, 2012 (11:22 pm)

    Yes; Thank you very much for sharing. I’m so impressed at how un-yellow and un-curled the sheets appear. Yes, definitely have them preserved. In my attic I found papers, bills and receipts from a prior owner that had owned a resteraunt downtown on 5th Avenue in the 1940’s. It was fun to see the amazingly low price difference.

  • gina May 29, 2012 (4:52 am)

    The movie hall is where Admiral mail and Dispatch and the gymnastics academy are. It was chairs.set up in rows and not much more. It became a garage pretty quickly. According to neighborhood stories.

  • miws May 29, 2012 (7:52 am)

    gina, you are a virtual library of West Seattle knowledge! ;-)



  • gina May 29, 2012 (8:20 am)

    The Menheniotts were my source of WS news of days gone by. They would have been a great oral history project. Sadly they were both dead long before West Side Story was even a twinkle.

  • cjboffoli May 29, 2012 (8:28 am)


    A lot of those original silent film theaters were just that: a small room with a few rows of chairs, a screen on one wall and an upright piano. They were appropriate for the simplicity of the films, products of an industry that was still in its infancy. Some well known stars of the time would crank out 50 films a year. The pictures were shorter and much simpler than what we have today.
    The Mary Pickford picture (The Eternal Grind) appears to have actually been made the previous year, in 1916. It was inspired by the true-life events of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in NYC in 1911. The film consisted of five reels and was distributed by Paramount Pictures. NY Public Library still has a copy of the print in their archives.

  • Kayleigh May 29, 2012 (10:23 am)

    So cool and interesting. Thank you for sharing them!

  • Jane Conrad May 29, 2012 (10:59 am)

    Wonderful! Consider making those part of a calendar, too. Every Realtor in West Seattle would buy some. And FOR SURE she should contact the Log House Museum, to at least be sure they get copies.

  • Laurie May 29, 2012 (11:19 am)

    We have three more rooms of floorboards to pull up. If I find more West-Seattle-specific news from 1917, I’ll send it to WSB!

  • sc May 29, 2012 (11:31 am)

    I remember in an interview that the actor Dustin Hoffman said he was named for the actor Dustin Farnum.

  • Kravitz May 29, 2012 (11:51 am)

    That is awesome. Thank you for sharing and posting. It’s like buried treasure! I’ll definitely make a note to myself to leave a little something interesting behind for the next families to find in my home.

Sorry, comment time is over.