Viva Spud

Seattle preservationists fight to grant Googie restaurant landmark status

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Seattle preservationists fight to save a Googie restaurant. Pictured: Spud Green Lake (Orin Blomberg/Flickr)

It’s an all-too familiar story: a beloved local institution bites the dust as a developer swoops in to build apartments. But one modest Seattle restaurant has found a number of advocates that are fighting for it to gain lazndmark status.

The restaurant is Spud, a fish-and-chips spot with roots that date back to the 1935, and it’s the restaurant’s Green Lake location that’s at the center of campaign (several other Spud restaurants exist, though they are run by different ownership).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/nonsequiturlass/173472330/

The structure’s butterfly roof is one of the elements supporters say makes the building worthy of landmark status. (Nonsequiturlass/Flickr)

After a developer announced plans to raze the six-decade-old structure in order to build a four-story apartment building, representatives from Historic Seattle and Docomomo WEWA are speaking out in support of having the building designated a city landmark, with a Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board hearing scheduled for later this month. The current plan has Spuds reopening on the first floor the new building, but preservationists argue that demolishing the current structure would mean losing one of the finest examples of the modernist style in all of the Northwest, Seattle’s Daily Journal of Commerce reports.

Dating back to the 1950s, the 1,637-square-foot fish shack was designed by Edward L. Cushman in the playful Googie style of midcentury modernism. The popular postwar style was designed to attract the attention of drivers to roadside fast-food restaurants, gas stations, and motels, and, like many of the type, Spud features a distinctive butterfly roof and neon sign. So far, the developer of the proposed apartment building, Seattle’s Blueprint Capital, is going along with the landmark process, even requesting the landmark hearing as a proactive measure. Meanwhile, local preservationists, citing the fact that the building has been occupied with a working Spud location ever since it was built, have proposed looking at alternative designs, such as a scheme that would incorporate the new structure into the existing site.

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