Warshal's Workingman's Store outfitted ordinary folks on Seattle's busy Second Avenue after World War II.
We confess to having visited this northwest corner of Second Avenue and Washington Street five years ago 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.
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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.
“Washington Then and Now,” by Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard, can be purchased ($45) through Tartu Publications, P.O. Box 85208, Seattle, WA 98145.