3414 Fremont Ave N – Fremont State Bank Building
This building is located in the heart of downtown Fremont and currently houses Sonic Boom Records and Fremont News, as well as offices upstairs. Brian Regan purchased the building seven years ago as an investment. The building was built in 1905 and originally housed the Remsberg & Dixon Bank, later known as the Fremont State Bank. Other early tenants included the Fremont Theater (1912-1914), The Fraternal Brotherhood (upper floor from 1923-1933), the Angle Inn, and Smith’s Grocery.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s the upper floor was the location for meetings of a motorcycle sect of Alcoholics Anonymous. According to stories Mr. Regan had heard, the group was known to be a “colorful bunch.” The meetings often drew people from all over the country, including famous actors from California. In the 1970’s the upper floor was occupied by the Daily Planet newspapers. Regan said there was a rumor that rents were so low in Fremont at this time, retailers squatted in the buildings and did not bother to pay rent, because the building owners felt it was better than leaving the storefronts vacant. Regan noted that until the 1980’s when electric heating was installed, 50% of the spaces in this building were still heated by wood stoves. There are two below-street levels under Sonic Boom Records, one of which includes the former bank vault. Regan surmises that the basement level was at street level before the re-grading of Fremont Avenue for the Fremont Bridge construction project, about 1915.
Regan upgraded the interior spaces and re-roofed the building. The sub-basement underneath Sonic Boom Records seeped water, requiring installation of a new drainage system to dry it out. The commercial tenants have also made improvements to their spaces. Regan commented that he likes the building’s “graceful design”.
Sources: Brian Regan
Property Record Card, Puget Sound Regional Archives
Historical Survey and Planning Study of Fremont’s Commercial Area, Caroline Tobin, 1991
1937 photo courtesy of Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Regional Branch