READER REPORT: ‘Ghost sign’ uncovered on Delridge

Thanks to Aaron Jennings for the photos and report – that “ghost sign” is uncovered on a building undergoing renovations at 5001 Delridge Way SW [map]. King County Assessor records say the building dates back tp 1925. We haven’t found other history yet, but the sign clearly notes it was once home to William Damaske‘s drugstore.

You can find lots of online references to “ghost signs” around the city, like this site; seldom are they as clear, however, as this one! (Here’s a West Seattle example.) If we find out anything more about the Delridge sign, we’ll add to this story.

32 Replies to "READER REPORT: 'Ghost sign' uncovered on Delridge"

  • love April 1, 2021 (4:19 pm)

    Oh man that is so cool! I hope they can keep that in the redesign. Love the old signage. 

  • Christopher Boffoli April 1, 2021 (4:21 pm)

    Sigh. I miss the aesthetic of those old hand-painted signs. So much more tasteful that the vinyl banners and plastic slabs – in a cacophony of fonts – that litter the built environment these days. Sadly, just about a week after the WSB published the story about that other ghost sign back in 2016, some jerk had tagged it. 

    • flimflam April 1, 2021 (5:28 pm)

      agreed! not only appreciate the style but it’s so interesting when these things are uncovered, regardless of what happens next.

    • JohnW April 2, 2021 (11:29 am)

      Agree mostly with the always appreciated comments and photography of Christopher Boffoli, but please sir, avoid “sigh”s (admittedly a pet peeve of mine) ? 
      While also lamenting the demise of traditional sign painters, we must note the proliferation of small locally owned and operated businesses that pump out all of that vinyl banner by the foot, print those iconic West Seattle yard signs as well as BLM posters.  
      The large tee-shirt & hat logo printing business did not exist back then either.  
      These are all viable means of expression even when not original.  
      Affordability has allowed parents to congratulate cancelled graduations of their kids with those vinyl scrolls stretched across their bedroom window. (guilty here).
      To me, West Seattle original sign painting has reached a new high if we can stretch signs to include Desmond’s and others’ rattle-can sidewalk masterpieces.  
      I just wish more drivers would enjoy them while sitting at intersections than watching their  screens.

      • Jason April 2, 2021 (1:25 pm)

        Sigh.  Another person who thinks that someone else should change their ways to suit their wants.  🙄

  • WSOwl April 1, 2021 (4:23 pm)

    Very cool! Hopefully we can learn more about the building’s history and the drug store.

  • Happy April 1, 2021 (4:59 pm)

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Del Ridge April 1, 2021 (5:12 pm)

    That sign is in remarkably good condition.

  • ACG April 1, 2021 (5:25 pm)

    So cool!  I love seeing these ghost signs. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lynda B April 1, 2021 (5:33 pm)

    So cool!  This is where I want to give a shoutout to the SW Historical Society. ❤

  • Holli April 1, 2021 (5:43 pm)

    How cool! My Grandma grew up on 23rd down near the Boren School building and would walk from there to the Cooper School (now known as Youngstown) back in the early ’40’s. She had stories of stopping there for penny candy and sometimes Ice Cream. I bet there are other longtime WS families who have stories too.

  • Graciano April 1, 2021 (5:50 pm)

    That is really cool, they need to find a way to display it.

  • Jim April 1, 2021 (6:07 pm)

    Was “Vinther” the person who painted the sign (second picture)?  Whoever did it, did a beautiful job.

  • Ulrike Langer April 1, 2021 (6:23 pm)

    That is so cool! I hope it can be preserved and incorporated somehow into the renovation process.

  • Not a common name April 1, 2021 (6:41 pm)

    Not a common name so a quick Google search found a William Damaske of Seattle in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, Volume 270, page 337, which indicates someone by the same name, which may not be the same person, received a patent for an insecticide in 1919.  Search in Google Books for “William Damaske” + Seattle.

    • WSB April 1, 2021 (7:49 pm)

      I pulled a lot of searches before publishing this (even old newspapers – only one reference to this address, which was a food store by the time of a 1942 ad for money off Spam!). Certainly there were people with that name out there. Nothing close to suggesting it was the same person.

  • justme April 1, 2021 (8:22 pm)

    Does anyone know what kind of business is going in here? Did I miss that story earlier maybe?

  • Rod Moody April 1, 2021 (9:26 pm)

    William Damaske is listed in City Directories as a shopkeeper at 5001 24th Ave SW (which I’m assuming is now Delridge Way) from 1922-25. He was a dock worker in 1920 and by 1929, he was residing in Lynden. He died in 1944 in Snohomish.

    • WSB April 1, 2021 (10:03 pm)

      Aha, Delridge’s secret identity, 24th. That comes up. Thank you, sleuths.

    • Clay Eals April 2, 2021 (4:25 pm)

      Go, Rod, Go!

  • Westsearsd April 1, 2021 (9:43 pm)

    So neat. Thank you for sharing! 

  • Deb Barker April 1, 2021 (9:58 pm)

    When the Downtown Library reopens, ‘we’ can look through several years of Polk’s Directories for that address and see who had what businesses there, who lived there and what they did. I can get lost in those directories and census records for hours…..

  • James Clark April 1, 2021 (10:47 pm)

    This looks like a job for Felix Banel to research.

  • silly April 2, 2021 (7:13 am)

    I wonder if there was more signage where the windows are located, siding looks newer than the rest of it?

  • Rick April 2, 2021 (8:47 am)

    You mean to say there were people here before us?

  • Aaron April 2, 2021 (4:16 pm)

    Sadly the old signs were covered up today (Friday April 2). Now there is house wrap over everything in preparation for new siding I think. Glad I grabbed a couple photos in the brief moment before they disappeared for another hundred years!

    • WSB April 2, 2021 (6:49 pm)

      Thank you for the update – we’ve been transportation-challenged for a couple days and couldn’t get over to look. Indeed, we’re glad you grabbed the photos (and shared them) – who knows when/if that sign will see the light of day again! – TR

  • valvashon April 2, 2021 (8:45 pm)

    Would it have been that difficult to remove the “sub wall” and replace with new so that the sign could be preserved somewhere?  I don’t have room for it but some organization probably does.

  • Steve Hart April 2, 2021 (9:31 pm)

    Northwest Ghost Signs Map

  • Bob Carney April 3, 2021 (1:03 pm)

    To add to Ron Moody’s comment, I was able to look in a 1923 City directory and sure enough William Damaske was listed under the “general merchandise” heading at 5001 24th Ave SW that year.  The only other mention I could find in my limited resources was that the Thos F. Howard Grocery was located at the same address in 1940, per the city directory for that year.  I couldn’t find any details beyond that. The Youngstown district was renamed the Delridge district in May of 1940, and 24th Ave. SW was renamed Delridge Way at the same time. As I understand it, they wanted to disassociate the area from the “steeltown” image that the Youngstown name brought.

  • Brooks Burford April 3, 2021 (4:48 pm)

    With the obvious care taken to expose this I’m sure they’ll try to keep this as part of the remodel.  Some clear uv protectant fade resistant polyurethane can seal and protect this wonderful old Seattle find for many years to come.

  • KJB April 5, 2021 (6:13 pm)

    Darn! They covered it up:(

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