Landmark status sought for two West Seattle Junction buildings


(WSB photos taken the day of the March 2016 SWSHS announcement)

9:49 AM: Almost seven months after announcing that it would seek landmark status for two “iconic” buildings in the heart of the West Seattle Junction (WSB coverage here), the Southwest Seattle Historical Society has taken the next step in the process. Here’s the announcement just sent:

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society this week submitted its landmark nominations to the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board for the two West Seattle Junction buildings that have been the focus of its “We Love The Junction” campaign since last March.

The nominations were submitted for two buildings at the intersection of California Avenue Southwest and Southwest Alaska Street:

— The Campbell Building (primary tenant Cupcake Royale), at the northeast corner.

— The Crescent-Hamm Building (primary tenant Easy Street Records), at the northwest corner. (The building is known as the Hamm Building but is identified in the nomination as the Crescent-Hamm Building.)

In the West Seattle Junction Historical Survey released last March, the two buildings were identified at the top of the list of potentially eligible Seattle landmarks in the Junction.

The complete nominations can be seen on the historical society’s website.

The nominations were prepared by consultants Flo Lentz and Sarah Martin, whose work was funded by a grant from 4Culture.

The Campbell Building nomination, at 59 pages, and the Crescent-Hamm Building nomination, at 54 pages, provide a detailed history of the two structures, including information that has not surfaced since they were constructed.

For instance, the Campbell Building, thought to have been built in 1918 based on previous research, actually was built in two parts in 1911 and 1920. (The Crescent-Hamm Building was built in 1926.)

Setting Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board hearings for the nominations may take a month or two, said Clay Eals, executive director. Whether the hearings take place in one meeting or two is yet to be determined by the city, he said.

The nominations were submitted on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016. On the same day, the historical society notified representatives of the owners of the Campbell Building and the Crescent-Hamm Building that the nominations were submitted and provided the web link to the nominations.

For the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board to designate a building a city landmark, it must meet at least one of six criteria related to its association with a historical person or event, architectural style, designer or cultural heritage or status as an “easily identifiable visual feature” of its community.

In coming weeks, the “We Love The Junction” Task Force of the historical society will plan its approach to the nomination hearings. Anyone wishing to join the task force and assist in the campaign can contact Peder Nelson, task-force co-chair at

Agendas and other documentation related to Landmarks Board meetings can be found here, though, as mentioed in the SWSHS announcement above, nothing related to this is scheduled yet.

P.S. Wondering which West Seattle buildings are already official city landmarks? They’re all on this map.

ADDED 10:48 AM: Some are asking in comments, what about other Junction buildings? As mentioned briefly in the SWSHS announcement above, this was preceded by the release of the results of a historical survey of Junction buildings, including these, which were considered the most likely to qualify (here’s our March report on the survey). Curious about your favorite Junction building(s)? Here’s the section of the survey document that addressed each of dozens of buildings.

17 Replies to "Landmark status sought for two West Seattle Junction buildings"

  • sgs September 22, 2016 (10:02 am)

    YES!  Fully support this and will be thrilled to see it come to fruition.

  • wscommuter September 22, 2016 (10:07 am)

    I hope this occurs.  I accept that new buildings are inevitable, but I’d like to see us preserve some of what makes the Junction special … and these two iconic buildings are central to that. 

  • KJ September 22, 2016 (10:28 am)

    Aren’t there other buildings in the Junction that could also be nominated? Like the old S.H. Kress or something? Just want to keep all the old buildings that are left.

  • Jack spara September 22, 2016 (10:30 am)

    Keeping some character for west seattle is important…fully support this!

  • Mike Lindblom September 22, 2016 (10:30 am)

    Hey WSB, do you know why didn’t the Vann Building, circa 1929,  didn’t grab a landmark nomination?

    • WSB September 22, 2016 (10:40 am)

      The full Junction Historical Survey report released a while before the SWSHS March announcement included an assessment of buildings. These two were the only ones in “Category A,” most likely to meet landmark criteria. Starting at page 19 of this part of the report:

      you can see the other categories of buildings. The Vann Building is on page 25, “Category C,” which among other things means the buildings in that category were too altered to qualify, among other things. – TR

  • JTB September 22, 2016 (10:44 am)

    I really like interesting architecture and appreciate the roll of landmark designation in preserving it. 

    HOWEVER, I am saddened and sickened by landmark buildings that are allowed to become shabby eyesores. So I believe there should be some basic requirements regarding upkeep and maintenance of landmark buildings as a condition of retaining that status. 

    • Mike September 23, 2016 (6:15 am)

      Agreed, especially since when given landmark status they have to be kept in period style when being updated.  A decrepit landmark is not something I’d say represents the area well, but a well preserved one does. 

  • Jeff September 22, 2016 (10:48 am)

    Congratulations to whomever owns those buildings, they are now significantly less valuable.

  • J242 September 22, 2016 (11:34 am)

    This is great news! We don’t need to Ballard-ize everything. Jeff, it’s not all about buying/selling buildings. Sometimes it’s much more important to keep things in place to keep the “soul” of a neighborhood. 

  • John September 22, 2016 (12:44 pm)

    @Jeff……  that’s the first thing I thought.  The owners may have based their retirement plans or children’s education around selling these buildings/lots to a developer.

    • Meyer September 23, 2016 (8:06 pm)

      How come the value goes down when a building gets historical status?

  • Jeannie September 22, 2016 (1:14 pm)

    I hope we get some more overpriced, soulless condo buildings that block out the sunlight. /sarcasm

    • Azimuth September 22, 2016 (2:50 pm)

      These 2 buildings will definitely look out of place within the next 30 years once the neighboring buildings/lots get razed and replaced with 7-story “modern” buildings. Kind of like how the Talaricos/EBB/Dentist sits among the new buildings half a block south.

  • candrewb September 22, 2016 (4:45 pm)

    Do they get some kind of property tax break or something from the local governments for their upcoming reduction in value? In a way this is eminent domain.

  • S September 22, 2016 (4:54 pm)

    Fix the over hang on the Easy Street building then we can talk about land marking it. 

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