Then and Now

Now Then

459 N 36th Street

A hundred years ago, Frank Laroche constructed this building as an office space for his lumber business, with a residence upstairs for him and his wife, Alice Ann. A building permit was issued in 1904 and it was constructed in 1905-06 for $2,000. It was passed on to Victoria Church Jr. in the 1930s and stayed in the Church family for half a century.

When Chris Webb bought the building in 1989, for about $50,000, it was in very run-down condition. He has worked steadily to restore it to its original state and estimates that he’s down to the last 5% of the renovation. He is currently looking for old gaslight fixtures in stores from Everett to Portland.

When Victoria Church Junior’s daughter, Victoria II, was visiting from Germany a few years ago, she stopped by to look at the old building. Webb learned that there was a box of archival memorabilia dating back to the early 20th-century and he traveled to Germany to pick up the treasures. His knowledge of the history of the building has been expanded with letters on beautiful, letterhead stationery and old photos.

Webb bought the building because he loved the porch. The Fremont Coffee Company is now in its second year as the first-floor tenant and many coffee drinkers also enjoy this special Fremont porch.

Sources: Chris Webb
1937 photo courtesy of Washington State Archives, Puget Sound Reg. Archives