2008-09-21 Warshall's on 2nd Ave

(Original title: Warshal’s original store outfitted workers in postwar Seattle)

First, a confession. Five years ago, we visited this northwest corner of Second Avenue and Washington Street with an early-20th-century photograph of this brick business block when it still had two stories of hotel over Billy the Mug’s celebrated saloon and John Considine’s notorious People’s Theatre in the basement.

Here, instead, wrapping the corner is Milton Warshal’s Workingman’s Store — a haberdashery for outfitting railroad conductors, porters and loggers and such — beside a combined loan and pawnshop. Humbled to this single story in 1938 (if I have read the tax records correctly), the place is enlivened by signs of many sorts, including ones for the then popular Black Bear and OshKosh B’Gosh working clothes and a startlingly big sign for “Army Goods.” Not surprisingly, the sign is the intended subject for the scene, and was copied from a photo album stuffed with the works of the Messenger Sign Co.

I’ll guess the date of this scene at 1946. By then, Milton was no longer around. Soon after acquiring the business in the late 1930s from the widow of his uncle, Wolf Warshal, Milton enlisted in the Army and was ultimately killed in Normandy after the Allied invasion of 1944. Milton’s brothers, Adolph and Bill Warshal, kept the business going for some time, as we see it here. These surviving brothers are better known for their own long-lived Warshal’s Sporting Goods store at First Avenue and Madison Street.

Finally, a little more about Wolf and Nessie, the couple who started the store. They had only daughters — four of them. Consequently, “Wolf’s place” was known in the Jewish immigrant community as a good place for young men to find work.

THEN: At Warshal's Workingman's Store a railroad conductor, for instance, could buy his uniform, get a loan, and/or hock his watch. Neighbors in 1946 included the Apollo Cafe, the Double Header Beer Parlor, and the Circle Theatre, all on Second Avenue.
THEN: At Warshal's Workingman's Store a railroad conductor, for instance, could buy his uniform, get a loan, and/or hock his watch. Neighbors in 1946 included the Apollo Cafe, the Double Header Beer Parlor, and the Circle Theatre, all on Second Avenue.
NOW: Barney's Loans has long since replace Army Goods, but the 1890 building at Second and Washington survives, as does the sidewalk awning on Washington Street promising casino dancing.
NOW: Barney's Loans has long since replace Army Goods, but the 1890 building at Second and Washington survives, as does the sidewalk awning on Washington Street promising casino dancing.

One thought on “2008-09-21 Warshall's on 2nd Ave”

  1. In the 70’s, this building was owned by Joe Belotti. In the summer of ’74, I was hired by Joe to strip the old plaster off the walls in an old saloon next to the Double Header. Joe told us to call him immediately(from Marge’s Mouse House) when we moved the back bar away from the wall. He then sent us to the J&M for lunch(which he bought), and Lee Jacobsen(who owned Uncle Goose Pedicab) told us later that the face value of the coins Joe recovered from the top and behind the back bar was over $400, most of which dated to the turn of the century.

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