The Repp/White Building

924 First Street

White Building, 2014, Photo by Otto Greule
Princess Theater published in “River Reflections, Vol 1.,” 1973, Snohomish Historical Society
White Building, ca.1970, Snohomish Historical Society
Laying of the Golden Brick, the White Building is on the left, 1908, Photo by Gilbert Horton, Snohomish Historical Society

This building was misidentified for over 40 years as the Princess Theater building, circa 1900, because of a small, blurry photograph published in the Snohomish Historical Society’s “River Reflections, Part One” with no source listed. While reading through the pages of The Eye, Snohomish’s second newspaper, looking for mentions of the architect and builder J. S. White, a headline came alive to this writer researching his life and work:

“The City of Paris moved into White’s new building Saturday night.” — The Eye, August 10, 1893.

The article went on to report of the arrangement of the rooms on the second floor, especially the large one in the back with two bathrooms, a kitchen with a place for a range, a dining room, and ample closets, “all necessary accommodations for housekeeping on a large scale.” White gave the Eye-man the inside story that a city physician wanted to occupy it as a hospital but then changed his mind, so “any responsible party who wants to rent a hospital is invited to call and inspect the premises,” White said.

A solution to White’s ownership of this plus-size space was found in the disastrous turn of events for his city council colleague, Charles Bakeman, when his three-story furniture building burned to the ground. This event was reported under the headline: “Bakeman Burned Out. A Fire of Unknown Origin Destroys the Furniture Store,” in the September 18, 1893, issue of The Eye. Three days later, the headline is straightforward: “The City Council Meets in the White Building.”

In recent years the extra-large room is rented as the loft space it is, while the rest of the second floor contains small office spaces. Around 2008, an upscale restaurant set up shop on the first floor with the tagline: “You don’t need to go to Seattle to dine out anymore!” And 14 years later it’s proven true.

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