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Catalog Number WF 1215
Caption Federal Building - #3
Description The Federal building is located at 519 Commercial, on the northeast corner of 6th Street and Commercial Avenue. The building opened in August, 1938 and housed the Anacortes Post Office and U. S. Customs Office. This is a view of the building site following the demolition of the Vendome Hotel; For one of the last views of the Vendome Building, see WF 1419, 1575. This view looks northeast toward the vacated Elks Building; in 1937 the Elks moved to 1009 7th Street, and the vacant Elks Building became known as the "Community Building" until it became Anacortes City Hall on September 25, 1947. The Semar Building at the southeast corner of 5th and Q is visible behind the Elks Building. The smokestack of Anacortes Lumber & Box is visible in the rear, sending a plume of smoke into the air. That company began business in 1904 on the site of the old (Amos) Bowman Mill. It was a mainstay of the local economy in the coming decades. The 12-12-1929 ANACORTES AMERICAN referred to it as"One of the dependable bulwarks of the city." The business changed its name to Anacortes Lumber Company sometime between 1934 and 1937, and shortly after this photo was taken, in February 1938, fire destroyed much of the mill complex. The mill struggled on until June 1941 when another, this time catastrophic, fire closed the company. See the 6-6-1941 ANACORTES MERCURY The mill's smokestack, long a familiar landmark in Anacortes, was toppled in February 1999. Also see WF 1214, 1216.

The Federal Building housed the Anacortes Post Office which had occupied numerous buildings in Anacortes since its founding in November 1879. The first post office was established in Bowman's store at the foot of Q Avenue, which got off to a rocky start. The 11-15-1879 PUGET SOUND MAIL reported, "The Anacortes (or Ship Harbor) post office has been re-established, on which event we congratulate Mr. Bowman, the postmaster and merchant of that place, as he has been considerably embarrassed by the suspension." Dr. Thomas B. Childs, Anna Curtis Bowman's brother-in-law, was appointed postmaster in 1883; J. M. Moore was appointed in 1886; Childs was reappointed in 1887, and at that point the post office moved to his residence on 3rd Street between P and Q. See "History of Post Office" in 1-22-1891 ANACORTES AMERICAN. The post office remained there until the summer of 1890 when the new post office, the Curtis-Childs Building, was built on the northeast corner of 4th and Q. W. G. Beard was appointed from 1895-98, and he moved the post office to the Platt Building at the corner of 4th and P/Commercial. Thereafter the post office moved to a succession of buildings. See WF 0024, 0108, 0109, 0110, 0111, 0117, 0825. The drive for a new home for the post office began in 1928 when the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution asking to formally request the construction of a "Federal Building" in Anacortes, something that other small communities such as Bellingham had done. See 4-12-1928 and 2-13-1930 issues of ANACORTES AMERICAN. The federal government finally allocated $14,800 in 1936 for the purchase of land. Construction began at the northeast corner of Commercial and 6th in October 1937 to replace the post office located at 715 Commercial. Construction engineer was Harry Lackore, and T. D. MacNeil of Mt. Vernon was the contractor. The dedication ceremony was 8-4-1938.
Date 1937
Photographer from the BRADY, Ferd collection
Collection Wallie Funk Collection
Subjects Place - Anacortes, WA
Structure - Federal
Credit line Donated by Wallie Funk, Wallie Funk Collection
Place Anacortes, WA
Search Terms Federal Building
post office
Vendome Hotel
Elks Building
Community Building
Anacortes City Hall
Semar Building
Anacortes Lumber & Box Co.
Bowman Mill
Anacortes Lumber Company
smokestack
postmaster
demolition
City Hall
Municipal building
Object Name Negative