It has stood on the northwest corner of North 43rd and Fremont for seven decades, through Fremont's transition from boom milltown to depressed urban backwater to gentrified trophy neighborhood. The Phinney No. 21 trolley and the Seattle-Everett Interurban used to clatter by; now the No. 5 bus picks up passengers outside.
But the Herzig Building just isn't historic enough to survive.
That's the verdict of local historian Tim Muir, who did some sleuthing for a friend in hopes the two-story brick-and-terra-cotta structure might qualify for landmarks protection. The Herzig Building, designed by local architect Harold Ginnold, was apparentlybuilt by Fremont physician Maximilian Herzig and his wife, Frances. Over the years, the 43rd and Fremont Building (as it was renamed in 1937), housed such diverse businesses as Skagg's Safeway food store, Moore's Penguin Ice Creamery, and two well-known neighborhood dentists, Drs. Glenn Gray (1940s) and Jeremy Worden (late 1950s to mid-1980s). But, Muir notes, the Herzig Building's design is fairly typical of small commercial structures of its era, it has no association with a famous historical figure or event, nor is it prominently sited or recognizable enough to interest city regulators.
"Fremont gains much of its character from its buildings," wrote neighbor Rachel Huddleston in a comment letter to the city. "As these structures are removed and replaced by generic structures, Fremont loses parts of its unique flavor."
But under Seattle's Comprehensive Plan, the Herzig Building's loss is a textbook "urban village" gain. The planned Kohlenberg Building will replace six apartments on the site with 18 new units, and include large new quarters for the popular Fremont Classic Trattoria. More housing, more street activity, less history.