The 50 oldest businesses in District 3

Screen-Shot-2015-10-08-at-10.19.56-PM (2)While the neighborhoods of Capitol Hill and Central Seattle continue to change and grow, not everything is glossy and new. CHS found that 45% of area business permits within District 3 have been active for 10 years or more. The oldest? Well, you’ll have to scroll to the end of our list.

Below, we’ve called out the 50 oldest active business permits in the neighborhoods of District 3 from Capitol Hill to the Central District.

The list covers businesses and organizations licensed within the area’s ZIP codes but it’s not comprehensive. There are many businesses that have been open for decades but may be registered somewhere else, so they are not included in our list. Others represent businesses that have closed up shop, but still maintain a license.

In general, the businesses and organizations with the most staying power seem to be nonprofits and offices of professional services like architects and lawyers. And food and drink entrepreneurs take note: Only one restaurant — the Deluxe Bar and Grill at 87 — cracks the top 100… not even close to our top 50, below.

District 3’s 50 Oldest Businesses

  1. Genesis House – An inpatient drug rehab center in the Laschi/Madrona area which opened in 1971. It closed in 2014.

    Country Doctor

    Country Doctor

  2. County Doctor Community Health Clinic – Serving the community since 1971, the Country Doctor on 19th Avenue East is planning an expansion, possibly next year, in order to add dental health to the list of services they provide.
  3. Group Health Cooperative – the larger group health organization was founded in 1945, but in 1971, they planted a flag on Capitol Hill.
  4. Roger Newell – the architect whose office is on 19th Avenue East has had his business license in this area since 1971.
  5. Robert E. Frey – One of the first Certified Financial Planners in the state, according to a 1975 Seattle Times article on Frey’s website.
  6. Donald Glover – not that Donald Glover. This Donald Glover was the owner behind Horizon Books, the used bookstore which used to be on 15th, in the spot currently occupied by Ada’s. Now, it operates an online business on 10th Ave.
  7. Swedish Medical Center – rounding out the businesses from 1971
  8. Archbright – a business that seems to serve other businesses helping them with things like human resources and lots of other corporate buzzwordy stuff. Their license in the area dates to 1970, though the company has been around since 1936.
  9. Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown – the clinic, operated by Seattle Children’s has been serving children from birth through age 21, regardless of their ability to pay, since 1970 is located at 2010 E. Yesler Way.
  10. Lois Harris – proprietor of the Vogue Coiffure Beauty Salon at 1108 23rd Ave.
  11. Wilson & Hayes – A metal fabricator specializing in crafting marine furniture located on Eastlake Ave. They’ve held their license since 1969.
  12. Bush Roed & Hitchings – a land survey and civil engineering company whose website says it’s been around since 1966 (the license information dates to 1969, but they may have started in a different location). Interestingly, on their website, there is no mention of anyone named Bush, Roed or Hitchings. The company’s website says they have roots that go back to the city’s founding, and archived surveying records dating back nearly 150 years.
  13. Thrifty Park – has been running a Capitol Hill parking lot since 1969.
  14. Amadeus, Inc. – company based in an apartment building, which may have owned a restaurant in the 1980’s.
  15. Lake Union Drydock Company – self-explanatory.

    Alvin Doggett

    Alvin Doggett

  16. Theosophical Society in Seattle – has run the Quest Bookshop on Broadway just north of Roy since 1968.
  17. Alvin E. Doggett Studio – Specializing in photo restorations.
  18. Robert Cadranell – is listed as a paint and wall covering contractor with a license going back to 1968.
  19. Gracie Mae Williams – owner of Ebony Designs beauty Salon since 1967
  20. Swedish Hospital Auxiliary – their gift shop has been licensed since 1967.
  21. Seattle Curtain Manufacturing

    Seattle Curtain Manufacturing

    Seattle Curtain Manufacturing – This company has been making window coverings since 1967. According to the company’s website, the third generation of the Capeluto family is now involved in running the business which started at 3rd and Yesler before moving to their current location at 12th and Yesler.

  22. Casey Family Programs – a charitable trust with a $2.2 billion endowment started by the family that founded UPS. They’ve been around since 1966, and do work in all 50 states.
  23. Richard Haag Associates – the landscape architect behind Gas Works Park, among other national and international projects.
  24. Seattle Mental Health Institute – Sound Mental Health has been providing an array counseling services since 1966.
  25. Seattle Art Museum – More precisely, the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, licensed since 1965.
  26. Centerstone of Seattle – a social services organization providing food and financial relief to help pay energy bills, it’s been operating since 1964, and it helps more than 20,000 people a year.
  27. Milkie Studio – Photographers. Though they’ve retired, it seems.
  28. Robert Lester –  physician8445661312_8789e36b95
  29. Perkins Glassanother multi-generation outfit here on Capitol Hill. Perkins Glass originally opened in Post Alley, near Pike Place Market. According to Brian Perkins, they have paperwork dating back to 1906. There’s a family legend that his great-grandfather built the case for the mummy in Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the waterfront. Their business license on Capitol Hill dates to 1963. Brian said the family has no plans to move its business anytime soon.
  30. Presbyterian Retirement Communities NW – They’ve operated the Parkshore Retirement Communities in Madison Park since 1962.
  31. Northwest Kidney Center
  32. Philip Williams – Attorney

    Russian Community Center

    Russian Community Center

  33. Russian Community Center – they took over what had been a movie theater on 19th Ave E in 1961.
  34. Junior League of Seattle – dating back to 1960, the Junior League is part of a national women’s group promoting community service.
  35. Kelley Ross & Associates – A pharmacy with a license dating to 1959. The company started in 1925.
  36. Northwest Administrators – A company that helps other companies manage their employee benefit programs and claims. They now have primary offices in five western states.

    Auto Accessories

    Auto Accessories

  37. Auto Accessories – The business selling car parts opened in 1958, back when the area (it’s on 13th between Pike and Pine) was still auto row.
  38. Kelly Ryan – a contractor which specializes in building things in Alaska. Their website says they opened in 1976, though there’s a business license dating to 1958.
  39. Richmark Label Company – A company still run by its founding family operates out of a building on Pine Street just east of Cal Anderson Park. Their license dates to 1957. As you might imagine, they make labels.
  40. Knights of Columbus – the local chapter of the international Catholic fraternal service organization.
  41. Polish Home Association – The Polish Hall on 18th and Madison has been around since 1954. Two words: pierogi festival.


    The Bullitt Foundation’s fancy new home

  42. The Bullitt Foundation – long before they built the greenest building ever, the Bullitt foundation started in 1952. Dorothy Bullitt, the foundation’s namesake, was the original owner of KING, the first TV station in Seattle.
  43. Swedish Medical Center – Yes, the hospital. Its license dates to 1951.
  44. Seattle Tennis Club – In Madison Park on Lake Washington, the club has been around since 1943.
  45. Lake View Cemetery Association – the group which runs the cemetery just north of Volunteer Park, where dozens of local luminaries are buried — along with 40,000 (and counting) more. The cemetery itself is much older.
  46. College Club of Seattle – The private club which touts its rowing is located in the Eastlake neighborhood on Lake Union. While the club has been around since 1910, its license dates to 1943.
  47. YWCA of King County – The East Cherry branch of the YWCA, it was one of the first branches in the country to allow members of different races. It now houses administrative offices for five programs run by the YWCA.
  48. Professional and Technical Engineers Association, local No. 17 – The union represents public sector workers in engineering and IT fields in Washington and Oregon. It’s been here since 1930.
  49. Seattle Hebrew Academy – The private school for orthodox Jews located right next to Interlaken Park, The school’s website says it opened in 1947. Business License records date to 1921.

    Broadmoor Homeowners Association

    Broadmoor Homeowners Association

  50. Broadmoor Homeowners Association – License records for the homeowner’s association surrounding Broadmoor Golf Course, adjacent to the Arboretum, date to 1900. The golf club’s website says the land for the course was donated in 1924.
Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

9 thoughts on “The 50 oldest businesses in District 3

  1. Odd. Many of these businesses go back way before the dates cited in the article. For example, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle Art Museum, Group Health’s Capitol Hill campus, etc.What was used to establish the start dates? Some sort of business license registry? Maybe someone should check back further.And what about Angel’s Shoe Repair?

    • These are all from the city’s business permit records. The records reflect the continuity of a permit so the date is whatever is in the city’s records for a continuous renewal through 2015. As for Angel’s, it could be a matter of what address the business permit is filed for — as we note, permits sometimes reflect locations other than the physical locations of a business or organization.

  2. Agree that dates are odd. The Junior League of Seattle dates to 1924, though perhaps wasn’t incorporated in district 3 until the 60s.

  3. The DeLuxe Bar & Grill has been operating on the corner of Broadway and Roy in the same family since the very early 1960’s (1962, 1963 are the two dates that are most frequently cited). Prior to being called DeLuxe Bar & Grill, it was DeLuxe Tavern & Steakhouse. Prior to that it was DeLuxe Tavern. The name dates to 1934, when Thomas McClanahan converted his beer parlors to DeLuxe Tavern, 1, 2, and 3. The DeLuxe name has been on the Hill since that date.

  4. You can shop in person at Horizon Books 1423 10th Ave. The hours vary a little so maybe call ahead (206) 523-4217. It’s down the ramp through the big doorway to the left of Moe Bar.

  5. Seattle Tennis Club was first located at the site of the McDonalds on First Hill in 1890 next to the University Club. It has hosted the Washington State Open Tennis Tournament continually for 125 years. It was originally called the Olympic Tennis Club. It moved to the shores of Lake Washington when it bought a canoe club called the Firlock Club in the 1930’s. It celebrated it’s 125 Anniversary last summer.