Opinion

WALLY'S WORLD: Great addition to Cole Street corner

Well, if you go back far enough, there was a stable and/or blacksmith shop at the corner of Cole Street and Initial Avenue. However, throughout most of my life – which, to borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill, “has already been long and not entirely uneventful” – J. C. Penney occupied the site. In vague and reflective memories from my childhood, I can still see those change cups shooting up a wire from the ground floor to a central cashier in the balcony. (As best I recall, there wasn’t a similar purchasing system anywhere in King County.)

Penney’s hung on until the mid-1990s, then finally threw in the towel. Nobody shopped there anymore. Everyone went to the malls. The place stood empty for awhile and, since it’s such a large building, it was a real eyesore for the whole street. It eventually reopened as an antique mall, but this operation only lasted a few years before closing. The structure was left vacant again.

Then along came retired flight attendant, Marilyn Nelson. She bought the building and planned to open another antique mall after, she said, “a little remodeling,” which was a slight understatement to be sure. Remodeling, indeed! She gutted the whole place, right down to the dirt! The only things left standing were the walls and roof.

Twelve or 13 years ago, she and her husband purchased the old Wilkeson sandstone quarry and this, of course, explains quite a lot about the building’s new appearance – which, if nothing else, has at least been quite controversial. Some believe the original brick, which had been painted two different shades of red, was infinitely preferable to the new face lift. Others simply feel there’s a bit too much sandstone, perhaps it should have stopped halfway up the walls. Still others think the results are quite beautiful just the way they are. Check out the large business sign, “Collectibles on Cole” which means, I predict, the enterprise will eventually be known merely as C.C.’s.

Inside, there’s a whole new second floor, two stairwells, an elevator, a kitchen and restaurant and even a gas fireplace for a romantic touch on cold, winter afternoons. Here again, as you would probably suspect, the motif is sandstone.

All totaled, this “little remodel” cost in excess of a million bucks.

So far, 11 spaces have been rented by various antique dealers, some of whom are highly specialized; for example, one vendor trades almost exclusively in Vaseline glass. So far, eleven spaces have been rented by various antique dealers, some of whom are highly specialized;  for example, one vendor trades almost exclusively in Vaseline glass. Marilyn herself will have a booth and she deals mostly in crystal, oil lamps, and other glassware.   Adella King, whom you may remember has her own antique shop a couple years ago, will display her collectibles in one of the front windows.   Strange enough, Marilyn will not manage the operation;  instead, she’s delegated those duties to her good friend, Mary Beth Vadney.

The place will open for business this Friday, June 3rd.   Let me assure you, if you haven’t yet been inside this new building, the change is gonna knock your socks off.

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