The McNaught Building was constructed by the J.F. McNaught Land and Investment Co. whose board of directors were the following "well-known citizens of Seattle": J. F. McNaught, N. F. McNaught, and James McNaught. James McNaught was the counsel for the Northern Pacific and represented the line in a number of litigation proceedings stemming from the controversy around the land grant and the railway's timber-harvesting practices in the 1880s.
It appears that the McNaughts were in the same position with N.P.R.R. as John Platt was with the Oregon Improvement Company (O.I.C.) -- privy to advance information related to the future of Anacortes. Their company purchased much of the property in the "West End" and were responsible for the "I" Avenue business district, which included McNaught's dock, the Anacortes Hotel, the McNaught Building, and several other frame buildings as well. This area of town became the McNaught Addition.
The McNaughts handled properties in Seattle, Anacortes, Kirkland, Hamilton, and other cities of the state. They operated out of the Tremont Building in Seattle, and the McNaught Building in Anacortes after its completion in 1890. N.F. McNaught built a "palatial" home near Oakes Avenue (named after the president of the Northern Pacific), but the structure burned down in modern times.
A booklet produced by the McNaughts in January of 1891, "The Great Railway Terminus of Puget Sound", contained 40 pages of press comment relative to Anacortes. The comments were from January 1890 to January of 1891 and included excerpts from the SEATTLE JOURNAL, SEATTLE TIMES, SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCES, ANACORTES AMERICAN, SEATTLE TELEGRAPH, SPOKANE FALLS REVIEW, SEATTLE PRESS, and the PORTLAND OREGONIAN.
The McNaught Building, according to a pen and ink rendering in the April, 1890, issue of WASHINGTON MAGAZINE, was designed by V.A. DeProsse, Seattle architect. The building cost $13,000. The contractor is unknown, although it may have been the Anacortes firm of Long and Merritt, or possibly Burt Island of Seattle, whom N.F. McNaught employed to construct his own home in Anacortes.
The McNaught Building accommodated three stores on the first floor, while the upper 2 stories contained offices, including the owners'. The interior was said to be finished with ornate designs in selected cedars.
The physician George Belding Smith, featured in Prosser's 1903 HISTORY OF THE PUGET SOUND COUNTRY, had his offices the McNaught. He was railroad surgeon for the O.I.C., the Pacific Coast Company, the Seattle and Northern Railway, and after 1903, the Great Northern.
The McNaught Building's four stories make it one of the tallest buildings in Anacortes. Photographs reveal the striking 1890s image of that building combining with the even taller Anacortes Hotel at 8th and J Avenue to assert the business district's location near "I" Avenue.
The building is a cube-like structure of about 50-60 feet on the sides with a shingled pyramidal roof supporting a finial. A glass skylight, now removed, was at the apes. Eight interior chimneys flank the four attic dormers, while the slightly flared eaves are supported by modillions. The square shiplap double frames was trimmed with thin corner boards and supported by metal corner posts. Paired double-hung sash windows arrange in ribbon-like flashing circle the 3rd story. A modest belt between the second and third stories draws the eye to the three-sided bay, with balcony, on the second level. Pairs of transomed double-hung sash windows occur in symmetry at the second level.
In the spring of 1904 the building was purchased by R. L. Bradley, a native of Whidbey Island, to house his business, the Anacortes Mercantile Company. During the summer of 1904 the building was moved by rolling it on large timbers to its new location on the northeast corner of 5th Street and Commercial. Anacortes Mercantile Company remained in business through 1927. R. Lee Bradley died in April 1927, and Lloyd Foster purchased the structure. He completely remodeled the building, adding office and apartment space (known as the Mercantile Apartments), on the building's second and third floors at a cost of $15,000. On 11-27-1930, the ANACORTES AMERICAN reported that local merchant Archie Allan had purchased the building from Foster. Allan had previously purchased the business and grocery stock of E. W. Cook in the "Nelson Addition" at 23rd Street and S Avenue. Allan's White Market was at 21st Street and Commercial Avenue from 1913 to c.1954; see WF 1269. Also in 1913 he operated a slaughter and dairy house in the Skyline area which provided milk and beef for his store. The 7-30-1931 paper reported, "32 year old landmark passes into oblivion. Anacortes Mercantile Company will become Allan's Market." Allan remained in the McNaught Building until 1967. Note the balcony on the building's second floor, delivery trucks on the south edge of the building, and the view of Sparks Transfer, which was in business at 908 5th from c. 1926-1939; see WF1427, 1217. Ron Rieth bought and renovated the building in 1982. Richard Ballow, John Carabba, and possibly others purchased the building c. 1983 and named it the White Gull Inn. According to the 1-31-1989 paper, Vern and Lena Humber and Jeffrey Wetmore purchased the building in 1988. On January 30, 2001, fire damaged the Majestic, stopping a potential sale. By late September 2005, however, the damage had been repaired by new owners and the Majestic Inn re-opened, complete with a restaurant, spa, and 21 hotel rooms.
Place - Anacortes, WA
Structure - Business
|Credit line||Transferred from Anacortes Museum Research Files - 02/2013|
ALLAN, Archibold "Archie" MacGregor
BRADLEY, R. Lee
McNAUGHT, J. F.
McNAUGHT, N. F.
SMITH, George Belding
|Object Name||Print, Photographic|