Friendz Cafe Manager Jesse Hagar welcomes customers through the original 1922 door of the O.C. Thompson building. COURTESY PHOTO

A door to the past | Tukwila’s Story

Doors can be physical or symbolic. The front door of the O.C. Thompson building is both.

  • Wednesday, December 21, 2016 9:54am
  • Life

By Richard McLeland-Wieser

Tukwila Historical Society

Doors can be physical or symbolic. The front door of the O.C. Thompson building is both. For almost a century, businesses have come and gone: a hardware store, shoe repair, a rock shop, antiques and today, Friendz Cafe. Yet, one thing remains constant: Thousands of customers have entered the same front door.

Comparing a 1937 photo with a current image reveals, not only the door, but the door knob is the same.

At the Northeast corner of the Riverton Crossroads of Valley Highway and Glenwood (now East Marginal Way and South 130th Street), the building was the epicenter of a thriving commercial center. During its heyday from 1920 to 1950, Riverton had an Interurban rail station, post office, general store, public school, butcher, cobbler, mercantile/feed store, grocery, auto repair, tavern, church, bakery and even a hospital.

In addition to Thompson Hardware, the building originally housed other businesses. The large open second floor hosted community meetings, dances and even boxing. Now, it is divided into apartments. The basement was home to a card room and pool hall.

In the 1930s, Stuart Naylor opened a bakery in the north part of the building. Success led him to move to a larger space near Southcenter. Today, that space is home to Bella Materna. Proprietor Anne Dimond offers beautiful apparel for pregnant women and new mothers.

Since 1922, the storefront on the east has housed a barber shop. For more than 40 years, Johnny and Gertie Dennis kept Riverton residents well-coiffed. Men’s haircut: 25 cents. Women’s permanents: $1. In the 1940s, Mike Yellam took ownership. He cut hair into the 21st Century. Today, enter the door next to the striped barber pole into Lisa’s Barber & Salon. Lisa Larrabee-Nitschke operates a modern salon with a touch of the past, including a vintage barber chair.

Head down to Riverton Crossroads. Friendz Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch and will be open evenings with wine and beer beginning Jan. 10. Lisa will make you look sharp. A new mother or expecting? Anne will get you looking stylish.

Richard McLeland-Wieser is vice president of the Tukwila Historical Society, which operates the Tukwila Heritage and Cultural Center, 14475 59th Ave. S. The center’s phone number is 206-244-4478 and the email is tukwilahistsociety@tukwilahistory.org.

[flipp]

More in Life

Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and Page Carson Foster. Photo credit Washington State Legislative Support Services
Carson Foster serves as page in Washington State House

The following was submitted to the Reporter: Carson Foster, a student at… Continue reading

Matt Kidd. Submitted photo
True strength has no limits

Covington resident Matt Kidd shares his story about kidney disease to help others during National Kidney Month.

Submitted photos from Kela Hall
Inspiring young women

The KD Hall Foundation honored Women’s History Month by having empowering and… Continue reading

Two commissioner positions available this year

For The Reporter The Tukwila Pool Metropolitan Park District (TPMPD) is a… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Tukwila Police Department’s
                                Facebook page
Tukwila Fire raises more than $8,000 for the LLS Stairclimb

The crew climbed up 69 flights of stairs at the Columbia Tower in Seattle.

Troop 398 newest Eagle Scout presentation

The Tukwila Historical Society is pleased to announce our volunteer and Tukwila… Continue reading

Submitted photo from the Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks Tre Flowers visits Tyee

He went there to present a $10,000 grant to the school

Measles outbreak: Officials urge vaccinations

Editor’s note: Measles is highly contagious. If you think you or your… Continue reading

The Tukwila Historical Society has been the location for the Japanese Sister City Gift Exchange Exhibit for the past several years. The city of Tukwila had many of the artifacts in storage and by joint effort it was decided to place the items in the museum for all to enjoy. For a viewing of the exhibit, please feel free to contact the Tukwila Historical Society to arrange a visit. Photo by Louise Jones-Brown
Japanese influence in the Duwamish Valley

In 1907, prior to Tukwila’s incorporation, the T.S. Unos family arrived from… Continue reading

For whodunit lovers, this short story is a gleefully-dark delight

Growing older is a very good thing. First of all, there’s a… Continue reading

Winter safety tips

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office give safety tips about the winter weather.

Search no more, you’ll want to read ‘Hero Dogs’

You felt like such a loser. It was a feeling that didn’t… Continue reading