Not many businesses on Capitol Hill can trace their history as far back as 1909. Bruce Good, owner of 12th Ave’s Jay Frees Plumbing and Heating, is the latest owner in a century-old line of repairmen at the helm of this Capitol Hill institution. Now, one chapter in the business appears to be nearing an end. Also ending, nostalgic business closing stories on CHS (for plumbers, anyway).
A duo of industrious microhousing developers are in the early stages of planning a mixed-use development on the narrow property, located between E. Olive St and E. Howell Kelten Johnson and Tyler Carr haven’t yet purchased the property, but their company is in the early stages of developing a 20-unit building with a small commercial space.
Johnson told CHS it was too early to discuss any details or when demolition of the plumbing building might happen, though he did say the project would not be microhousing. Early plans call for about 20 studio apartments and a few parking spaces in the back of the building.
For decades, the plumbing business has occupied a transformed single-family house, which today is sits sandwiched between two apartment complexes.
According to the company’s history, Jay Frees plumbing started in 1909 when Capitol Hill Plumbing opened on 10th Ave. In 1947, local plumber Frees bought the business and eventually moved it to 12th Ave. He ran the business for 50 years before handing it over to Good, who had been working as a plumber and repairman in the neighborhood since the 1970s. Good has kept the Frees name and signage ever since.
CHS tried to reach Good several times to talk about the future of his business. Despite the upheaval surrounding the business, it seems this old school Capitol Hill plumber is still finding plenty of work in the neighborhood.