The next time you walk on Pike and Pine, look for tall, wide windows, garage doors, and car elevators and you will see evidence that one hundred years ago, the neighborhood was “auto row.” Beginning in 1905 with the first dealership and continuing for 20 years, the Pike/Pine neighborhood was virtually the only location of car dealerships in the city of Seattle. [source] The neighborhood also included dealership storage buildings, auto repair shops, and auto parts stores.
The Seattle Architecture Foundation‘s walking tour Pike/Pine: Cars, Bars, and Dead Rock Stars provides a glimpse into the neighborhood’s colorful history. A few buildings in the ‘hood which started out as car dealership showrooms or storage include:
- Everyday Music building, 15th and Pine: started out as a Pontiac dealership showroom.
- Velo Bike building, 11th and Pine: an elevator took cars to the upper floor showrooms.
- Value Village building, 11th next to Velo: is also one of three former homes of REI.
- Foley Sign building, 12th and Pine: started as a dealership and became a repair shop in the 1920s.
- Northwest Film Forum building, 12th and Pike(north of intersection): was a dealership
- Elysian Brewing Co building, 13th and Pike: used for Packard dealership car storage. The bones of the building are original old growth lumber.
- Pacific Supply and the Piston and Ring buildings, Pine and 12th (south of intersection): these two renovated buildings maintain a touch of their original character as an auto showroom/service and auto repair storefronts, respectively.
- Bimbo’s Cantina building, 10th and Pike (east of intersection): auto repair shop, the former workshop area is now used by a coffee roaster to store coffee beans.
- Comet Tavern and King Cobra building, 10th and Pike (west of intersection): originally an auto storage warehouse.