WSB extra: Last look at what’s now a ghost of a building

(This photo and the next 8 by Mark Cohan)
What could be spookier than a big empty, long-vacant building? One of the biggest ones in West Seattle, the former Huling Chevrolet showroom, is no more on this extended Halloween weekend, as teardown concludes. Mark Cohan, who lives near Fauntleroy/Edmunds, “compiled a sort of photo essay of the old building just a few weeks before it was razed” – and shared the images, including the one above, as one last look. See more ahead (plus a few extra late-in-the-demolition photos of ours):

As you probably know, this site will become part of the largest development yet in West Seattle, The Whittaker – ~400 apartments, ground-floor retail including a grocery store, and ~600 parking spaces.

The building had been empty for almost seven years – the backstory’s here.

County records say it was built more than half a century ago, in 1952.

It was a classic car-showroom building, big walls of glass:

We reported first word of the development proposal two years ago, and even once the building was fenced off, vandals still had a field day:

The “Alki in the Twenties” mural on the building’s eastern face could not be saved, the project team said, but it will be re-created on the new building.

Thanks to Mark Cohan for sharing his photos.

Below, two of our unpublished views from the demolition – the south side and the east side:

(One of the more interesting published views was this one.) The only structure now left standing between Edmunds/40th/Alaska/Fauntleroy after 3 weeks of teardown is the Alki Masonic Center, which is not part of the project, and will remain. Its parking lot is currently closed because work to shore it up is being done by the developer; in the meantime, its members, guests, and visitors have temporary parking on the east side of Fauntleroy. Construction of The Whittaker project is expected to take about two years.

10 Replies to "WSB extra: Last look at what's now a ghost of a building"

  • rdf November 1, 2014 (7:01 am)

    Great photos.

  • DC November 1, 2014 (7:15 am)

    Gene Fiedler Chevrolet

    • WSB November 1, 2014 (7:36 am)

      Thank you. History is our Achilles heel, and I don’t get to work far enough in advance to, oh, say consult SWSHS. Couldn’t find my copy of West Side Story, either. That explains the names on county records regarding who sold the site to the Hulings. – TR

  • WS Since 66 November 1, 2014 (8:10 am)

    I love the look and welcome the sight that people coming into West Seattle will see in the near future with the completion of the Spruce West Seattle (aka The Hole) and the Whitaker. Nice designs and lines. There are many of us “old timers” who happen to love the changes to our home, West Seattle.

    Those that don’t like it and/or can’t accept change, want their “old West Seattle” back need to spend their time and resources developing a time machine to transport them back to whatever time they want it to be. Or they can move to a smaller town maybe Burien, Auburn, and I hear Covington is a nice place.

  • gatewood November 1, 2014 (8:11 am)

    I remember it as West Side Ford in the early 60’s

    Archive from WS Herald

  • rudy November 1, 2014 (1:30 pm)

    Did anyone else notice that the grand opening of Westside Ford listed in the Herald archives took place on Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1? I love crazy weird coincidence like that!

  • Vincent Dakotah Langley November 2, 2014 (1:48 am)

    Westside Ford started in West Seattle on the property that is now the parking lot of Les Schawb Tire Center, which is on the southeast corner of Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Alaska Street. That business was owned and operated by Ralph E. Malone of West Seattle. It was Ralph E. Malone, also, who had the building constructed on the northwest corner of Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Edmunds Street — which, of course, was, more recently, the Huling Brothers Chevrolet Dealership, said building being the one that was just torn down to make way for the future Whittaker. Ralph E. Malone had that building built, being completed in 1952, so that he could move his Westside Ford Dealership into that new building, one block to the south and across Fauntleroy Way SW, from its original location. …I do know that, even 10 years after the new building was built in 1952 at
    Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Edmunds Street, in 1962, that same building was still the home of
    Ralph E. Malone’s Westside Ford. I’m off-hand not sure as to when the Huling family acquired that building and started their business in there, which was the one known as Huling Brothers Chevrolet Dealership. Someday I might look
    ‘that one’ up!
    …How old was the mural that was painted on the east side of that old building that is gone now?
    I don’t think that that mural was painted onto that building in or immediately after 1952 when the building was new, because the old automobile down at Alki Beach that was pictured in that mural was an old Chevrolet automobile — not a Ford automobile… That mural always led me to believe, for some years, that that old building must have been a Chevrolet dealership since it was new, perhaps, because of the old Chevrolet automobile pictured in that mural. But then again, I only moved here (onto West Seattle’s Fauntleroy Way SW) in 1999.

  • Julie estes November 2, 2014 (7:14 pm)

    I worked in that building for 16 years, I was sad when I saw it come down. No time machine will transport me back to a great company to work for, but things change, and there is nothing wrong with being sentimental.

  • Margaret Ganong November 3, 2014 (12:58 pm)

    I will ask my mother when her father (my grandfather), Ralph Malone, sold the Westside Ford property. If memory serves, it was in the mid-70s. Another bit of local trivia involving Lakers great Elgin Baylor: “Following his time with Idaho, still without a reputable basketball program willing to loosen its eligibility requirements and take on Baylor’s poor academic record, Baylor found himself transferring to Seattle University at the behest of Seattle area auto dealer owner Ralph Malone. Malone’s interest in Baylor was twofold: helping the local basketball program and his own basketball team, Westside Ford, who were a part of the AAU Northwest League. The Northwest AAU league was made up of mainly company owned teams like Malone’s Westside Ford, such as the Puhich Cleaners and Val Kirk Pharmacy. While Baylor sat out a year to improve his academics and become eligible to play for Seattle University the following year, he played for Malone’s team and dominated.” (From the basketball website)

    • WSB November 3, 2014 (1:05 pm)

      Thanks, Margaret! Have any old photos? We’d love to run a followup – – I have a new aerial of the post-demolition site that I’m holding pending anything further. – Tracy (WSB editor)

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