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  • Ellen Mirro

6402 Roosevelt Way: from 1929 to 2015

For the next installment in our occasional series exploring Roosevelt history, we’re looking at the storefronts located at 6402 and 6404 Roosevelt Way. The original building on that site (currently the southwest corner of Roosevelt Square) was built in 1929 to house the new Van de Kamp’s Bakery. The Pasadena-based bakery chain, famous for their trademark decorative windmills and seventeen varieties of Dutch coffee cake, opened a handful of Seattle stores in August of 1929, to great fanfare. Sales assistants dressed in traditional Dutch garb, and children received a free windmill-shaped tin filled with sugar cookies.

By 1930, the storefront to the north of the bakery housed an O. P. Skaggs Food Store. The “Skaggs System” offered self-service, nationally-distributed brands, and steep discounts, much like the supermarket chains of today. By 1937, the Skaggs store had been replaced by an A&P Food Store and a Bartell drugs, the nineteenth store in the chain established in 1890. A decade later, in 1946, a Rhodes Ten Cent Store occupied both storefronts.

By 1956 Van de Kamp’s bakery had been replaced by the Bon Ton French Bakery, the signature windmill had been removed, and multi-tiered wedding cakes replaced the Dutch coffee cakes.

Since at least 1937, a Sears Roebuck & Co. store occupied the northwest corner of the 6400 block of Roosevelt Way, and by 1968 the store expanded to the southwest corner of the block. The 1929 eclectic brick-front building with an iron marquee and tiled roof was torn down and replaced with a more modern building made of cement and asphalt tile. This housed the menswear section of the department store.

In 1980 the Sears closed, and a $2.4 million renovation was announced to convert the former department store space into an arcade-style shopping center, to be named Roosevelt Square. By the late 1980s a gift store, Teddy’s on Roosevelt, and fabric store In the Beginning occupied the southeast corner of the new building.

Today these storefronts are occupied by a branch of Umpqua Bank and fitness center Barre 3.

The original Van de Kamp’s Bakery, 1930 (Photo: MOHAI 1980.6877.92)

A special advertising supplement heralded the opening of the new bakery stores, August 6, 1929.

6402-6404 Roosevelt Way NE, 1937 (Photo: King County Tax Assessor)

A&P Food Store Advertisement, 1938

Rhodes Dime Store, ca. 1946 (Photo: MOHAI 1996.10.20)

Rhodes Ten Cent Store Advertisement, February 10, 1952 (Seattle Times)

6402-04 Roosevelt Way NE, 1956 (Photo: King County Tax Assessor)

6400-6414 Roosevelt Way NE, 1968 (Photo: King County Tax Assessor)

6402-04 Roosevelt Way, as it stands today (Photo: The Johnson Partnership, July 2015)

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