Old University Village appreciation post

With the news yesterday of the Miller-Pollard store at University Village closing (and a Microsoft store opening in its place), there’s been a lot of chat on twitter about University Village and the other stores that used to be there.

University Village in 1962 (from the Seattle Municipal Archives; click to view a larger version)

And, as much as I tire of hearing about all the cool things that USED TO BE in this area, I thought I might open up a post so we could remember the good old days of Ernst, Lamonts and the Village Lanes that used to be down the street.

To get things started, here are some of the things that the Ravenna Blog tweeps (“twitter peeps”) have had to say about both the old and the new University Village  (I’m updating it through the day):

  • maggim Miller Pollard was awful enough, now we have to have the blight of a Microsoft store on our precious village? #bahhumbug
  • SarahSchacht Oooh! The drama! Apple & Microsoft Stores to face off, glaring at each other from across the U Village parking lot in Seattle.
  • RavennaBlog I can’t wait for the rumbles in the parking lot a la West Side Story! #MSFTvsAPPL
  • maggim When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way, from your first MacBook Pro to your last iPod day. @sarahschacht
  • NorthESea Yep. I will miss Miller Pollard for sentimental reasons. I remember wandering around that store as a kid.
  • lukobe Oh no! The transformation of University Village is nearly complete…. now all they have to do is get rid of the Ram
  • CamanoCommunity I remember Lamonts. Hell, I remember Rhodes. Geez…
  • SivPrince I still miss Lamonts and Ernest hardware. #olduvillage
  • NorthESea Yes! When I went to Roosevelt HS you used to be able to take bowling, at Village Lanes, as a gym credit. And I’m not that old!
  • arrrmin Yeah, the U-Village bowling alley was where Office Depot is now…and Lamonts department store is where QFC is now!
  • pokano QFC used to be where Restoration Hardware, etc. is. There used to be a wonderful little plant store across from it.
  • pokano @arrrmin No, QFC bought the old Carnation dairy. The old Lamont’s is where Barnes & Noble & Eddie Bauer are now.
Neighborhood: What do you remember about the early days of University Village? Leave your recollections in the comments.


  1. I should note that I’m not that old (you may care to disagree: I was born in 1975). I still remember fondly:
    * Ernst/Malmo
    * QFC in its old location (now Restoration Hardware)
    * Mom’s (diner)
    * The Sandwich Board (now Delfino’s) (excellent donuts)
    * Lamonts (now B&N)
    * The old dairy (now QFC, Public Storage)
    * Sab-Tec… great stationers (now in the vicinity of the Apple Store/Victoria’s Secret/Mercer)
    * Pay’n’Save (see Sab-Tec)
    * The bowling alley (now Office Depot)
    * Fiorinisports (see Sab-Tec)

    Thank God Lee’s Keys and the Ram are still there, otherwise I don’t know if I’d recognize the place! (Though Lee’s moved. I think the Ram may be one of the only places I remember from the old days that is still in the same location. Pasta & Co., too, maybe. Didn’t A La Francaise close?)

    Oh–and wouldn’t it have been great if the RCA had managed to get U Village to allow a daylighted Ravenna Creek to flow across the property? At least it’s no longer flowing into a sewer…

    • Oh dear. Depending on your birth month and day, I may be the old one between us! 1975 here as well.

      My husband grew up nearby in Laurelhurst and he remembers most of this stuff, too. Even the dairy. During the dating years, he and I would go to the U Village for this or that. I miss that stationery store a lot (Papyrus has the paper, but not the pens et al).

    • I remember when the building the Ram is in now, was an A&P! We’re talking early ’70s now, before A&P closed all their stores in this part of the country.

      There was also a cool hobby store, with lots of model trains and such, right in the center of that inside pedestrian court/walkway/whatever.

      I also got gym credit for bowling at Village Lanes while attending Roosevelt. The bridge over 20th Ave NE just north of Ravenna Blvd was still open to car traffic at that point, as I remember driving that way to get to school after bowling class.

    • I remember the village in the mid 70’s, it was like a little community as I worked at the VIctorian Parlor across the street from the QFC. In later years Dora sold the Parlor and the name changed to Mom’s. The Victorian Parlor was a sandwich shop and ice cream parlor. They had the best hot fudge and Dora and her family were wonderful people to have as a first employer. To this day I remember some of our regulars, Ned and Emil and the security guard for the village too. Fun times!

  2. Bowled there, shopped at Ernst & Pay n’ Save, & still own a pair of shoes I bought at Lamont’s in the ’70’s. Anyone else remember the Turbulent Turtle restaurant? Lots of memories in the more simple & laid back days…

    • Sure, I worked at the Turbulent Turtle, first at Shilshole (1974), then U Village. Fun place to work and good food. The Andersons were very focused on quality food.
      Also remember “Ski like a weine with Buss Forini”
      U Village just keeps changing. Still a nice place to go, if you can find parking.

      • Ooh Gary, I would love to make whole wheat cinnamon rolls like Turbulent Turtle made in 1976. Do you happen to have this magic recipe by The Anderson’s. You are right about the quality of foods they served…and the people they hired (obviously!) 🙂 Hope you see this post.

        • I have the recipe, but I cannot find Fisher cracked wheat. We did not use whole wheat flour. Stone Burr unbleached flour. Use Sigon cinnamon, and plump the raisins.

      • Chad Allred says:

        I remember loving at the Turbulent Turtle at Shilshole back in the day, and the subsequent move to U Village, where I didn’t get to go as often. But it was just as good. A shame it didn’t last, but it was a long time ago.

  3. Ordinary Folk says:

    I miss Lamonts and Ernst too–I could afford to shop there. Not at the new U-Vlg, too upscale, too pricey everywhere. We only go for coffee and Bartells, now.

  4. old 34th street kid says:

    The perfect day was to ride your bike to the village, you could go to bowling alley, then hop over to A&P looking for samples, stop by the donut shop and take an elevator ride in Rhodes. After that over to Woolworths to check out the fish and birds then out the back door to the hobby shop. Next stop was G. O. Guys where .25 cents could get you a coke and a plate of fries. You had to pay seperatly to save the penny tax. Then id was off to the frog pond to catch a few tadpols before heading home. Summers were great!

    • Jane Whisler says:

      Ah, the doughnut shop, with that window, where you could watch them being made, the mini doughnuts! That and the machine horses outside of the A and P, my childhood.

  5. I moved here 22 years ago and I remember U Village as such a sleepy little mall. I did like having Ernest there. I remember wondering how well an outdoor mall could do in this climate.

    I like some things about U Village but sometimes it feels a little snobby over there.

  6. I remember Rhodes (local dept. store) before Lamont’s. And there was even a Woolworth’s (old-time “dime store”) in approximately the location of Papyrus — about 35 years ago.
    Does anyone know how the Village went upscale? New owner a few years ago?

  7. I remember that Roosevelt Hight School offered a first period Bowling Class as a PE class until they tore down the lanes. In addition to the Ernst here used to be a lumber yard where the Silver Cloud Inn is too. Inside the village there was actually parking and stores that I would shop at, these days I’ll hit the Radio Shack, B&N, and Bartells Drugs but don’t have much use for the rest of the shops.

  8. Back in the early 80s I used to go to the Coin-Op Laundry place at U Village. I think Starbucks is there now.

  9. dave in seattle says:

    I remember the soda fountain at woolworths, the out of style clothes at rhodes dept store, one of the first starbucks opening around 1972, across from qfc. the beef and brew restaurant that had one of the first salad bars in seattle. and the bookstore owned by the two ladies prior to barnes and noble.

  10. Belvedere Terrace says:

    What about Flakey Jakes?

  11. Ole' Clem McGee says:

    Listen to you whippersnappers! I used to go down to One-Eyed Smitties tradin’ post down there; 3 beaver pelts and a few coon tails would fix me up with enough hard tack and bear grease to last the winter!

  12. How about the donut shop? The Wedge, Bernie’s Bagels, The Hobby Shop, SportsWest, Pay’N’Save, the lunch counter at Woolworth’s? Ah, good times!

    • oh, the donut shop….I miss the lovely scent of the fresh baked donuts as you rounded the corner towards Lamonts into the inside mall.. ….

      • Jane Whisler says:

        This is what I’m describing, too! I think it was the first time I’d seen mini doughnuts. The heavenly smell! That and blowing my allowance on double bubble gum and pixi sticks.

    • I worked at that donut shop. Prob gained 20lbs!!!

    • I also remember going into Woodworth’s and buying live seahorses in the tanks on the right when you came in the store. Loved them.

  13. ravennagrad says:

    My dad remembers the gardening that happened there…before the mall was developed. I remember going to Ernest and going to the independent bookstore to get a required book for a philosophy class at Roosevelt in 1972.

    We went to Lamonts–very affordable. we used to travel 25th ave to church on Capital hill every sunday…so we watched the village grow and develop over the years. I still remember when the mcdonalds opened up–and I couldn’t understand how anyone could like their hamburgers—they were small and cheap and wimpy in the late 1960’s.

  14. FormerBallardRes says:

    Mr Peepers, anyone? Near where Papyrus is currently. I recall that it was a toy store, possibly with clothing for kids.

    • Anonymous says:

      I just learned that “Mr. Peepers” himself lives in Laurelhurst still!

      • I remember Mr Peepers and Alan & Bab’s. It was one of my favorite stores. They later moved out on Sandpoint Way. Dollhouses & Miniatures & toys oh my.
        I read in the paper last fall that Bab’s was missing in her car. They found her but apparently she has Alzheimers. She was always so well dressed & stylish. Loved going there

  15. Postguy365 says:

    Used to be a Putt-Putt just east of the Village Lanes, circa late ’50’s-early’60’s. You can see it in the photo, the little square just to the right of Bowl. My buddy and I used to walk down the hill past the cemetery to golf, and if it started to rain we’d go in and bowl. Also, there was Ray’s Thriftway over in the southwest corner. I think QFC was there for a while after Ray’s. I remember I bought my first Bob Dylan record (mono – a buck cheaper than stereo) at Rhodes.

  16. Swanney40 says:

    I used to be able to buy underwear at U Village. Now I could get 500 kinds of candles, but no underwear.

    • I dunno. I see a few kinds of underwear, but one store that sells $40 candles.

      From most of these responses, I feel like there’s a group of people who just don’t feel the need to go down there any more. As for me, I’m in it for the cupcakes.

  17. My husband and I went on our first date at The Village Lanes, when we were in high school. I wish we still had good bowling alleys nearby. 🙁

  18. I think I grew up at the Village. My friend and I started walking from our houses on 28th on Saturdays and at least once a week in the Summer, 1960, especially. We saw JP Patches at Pay ‘N Save, bought my first Barbie at Woolworths, stood outside of a bakery and watched while they decorated cakes… sometimes they gave out samples, got free wallpaper samples to cut out paper doll clothes, touring the Carnation factory and getting ice cream at the end…

    • Jane Whisler says:

      Wasn’t there a statue of a cow, too? Good walk there from Ravenna Blvd, just got a good kind of tired. Lucky you, J.P.!

  19. Does anyone remember Pan Asia? How about that little deli in the corner by what now is Barnes and Noble? I think it is an Italian restaurant now. The deli had THE BEST chocolate doughnuts. Every Sat. after swim lessons and View Ridge we would go there for a doughnut. I wish I could have one of those doughnuts right now!

  20. There was a little sandwich shop in the corner by (what now is) Barnes And Noble). I believe there is an Italian restaurant there now. They had THE BEST chocolate doughnuts-would get one every Sat. in the summer after swimming lessons at View Ridge. Oh yes, and Pan Asia!

  21. Lisa - View Ridge says:

    I worked at that Donut Shop for 3 years in high school. If you ever got a free donut it was probably during those years ;-). The Ram wasn’t the original inhabitant of that site… it was MULLIGANS!! I miss Bronka, Diva, Gil Stearn Shoes, Kays bookmark along with all the others already mentioned. I liked Mom’s diner but they always had a lot of fruit flies the last few years. Everyone in NE Seattle bought their undies at Lamonts.

  22. @Lisa — I think before it was Mulligan’s, it was … The Turbulent Turtle 🙂

  23. @Lisa — I think before it was Mulligan’s, it was … The Turbulent Turtle 🙂

  24. Born in ’63 and remember it all. Loved riding my bike to the village, stopping at Taco Time along the way (it was in the southwest corner of the Safeway parking lot) for mexi fries. Playing pinball at the Lanes, buying Bubs Daddies at Woolworths, and sitting in front of Kays Bookmark painting our fingernails. My first job was at the old QFC as a bag girl, Fiorinis was the best ski store in the city (worked there later, as well as Miller Pollard). Loved shopping with my dad at Ernst and mom at A & P. and does anyone remember when the cows were stolen from the front lawn of Carnation? Or how about Little Luigi’s in Burgermaster?
    They had the best meatballs. I still have a book of matches from Pay N Save…can’t use them, i just like to look at them and remember the good old days of the Village. Miss those mom and pop stores. Now the Shoe Zoo is closing too.

  25. Flipian says:

    Former Don’s Hobbies employee here. I miss the heck out of that store. RIP Don.

    • HI,

      Looks like I’m a bit late to this post.
      Grew up not far from the Village in the 60’s/70’s. Frequented Dows Hobbies in its original location in the outside mall, across from the back-side of Woolworths, which I would also hit for Hot Wheels, model kits. And Pay n Save, Ernst Hdw.

      Flipian (if ur still out there), it caught my eye when you stated you were a former Don’s Hobbies employee. Do you recall any of the history behind Dows, and the switch to Dons Hobbies?
      I’d love to see a photo of the old Dows store.

      • Jeff Carnevali says:

        George Dow was my uncle I worked many years at Dow’s Hobbies during my Christmas and Summer breaks from school. Loved that hobby store!

        • Will Wheat says:

          Don was my dad and bought the shop from Dow in the early 1980s. We ran it until it closed in 1998, a few years after my dad passed away unexpectedly. My dad used to go to Dow’s hobbies when he was younger and was a big part of his interest in taking it over. I used to work in the shop as a kid and sold many a train set during christmas (and selling Bill Nye rocket engines during the summer)

          • Will Wheat, thank you also for sharing the history about how Don’s came about. I had grown out of the hobbies during late teens and beyond so I never got back to Dow’s after they moved over behind Village Bowl. I did make one many years later to the Don’s Hobby store up on Blakeley behind the Village. Did that location open when your dad bought the store from George? Thanks again for the memories.

        • Wow, great memories I’m sure. Loved going to Dow’s Hobbies probably more than any place else. The first thing that hit me we I walked in the door, was the smell of cigarettes mixed with everything else in the store (this was in 1960’s thru mid-70’s). Model trains were on the left as you walked in. They had the largest selection of brass locomotives anywhere (beyond my reach but always fun to look at). Bought a lot of HO scale stuff there as well as numerous model kits. At some point, the store moved from the mall location to over behind Village Bowl, IIRC. Thank you for sharing

        • I loved visiting Dow’s Hobbies to spend my allowance on Britain’s LTD. plastic animal toys. I’d ask to see several of the same figure so I could decide which had the nicest expression on its tiny, teeny face. I still have one of the Britain’s LTD catalogs, and well over one hundred of those plastic animals that now are brittle with age and playing. That was back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Great memories.

  26. I have long and deep memories of the U Village. 1) My dad used to park in the U Village lot and we’d walk to Husky Stadium during those great 1960 – 1961 seasons. 2) Sometimes we’d see Coach Jim Owens and a couple of his players eating at Clarks Restaurant. 3) There was a music store there where my sister would spend her allowance for 45 rpms. That was in the late 50’s because songs were like “Gingerbread” by Frankie Avalon. 4) I loved Kay’s Bookmark (bookstore) 5) I bought my first pair of skis at Buzz Fiorini’s and 6) And I worked at Pay n Save from 1967 until 1973.

  27. Hi friends, pleasant article and nice arguments commented here, I am truly enjoying by these.

  28. I rode my bike to “The village” in the 60’s and took sewing classes at Singer’s in the summer. I worked at the little cafe at the bowing alley part-time in high school. Could have sued the cafe owner/manger for attempted abuse. I wonder if anyone else had a similar experience?

  29. Used to eat at the Turbulent Turtle. Still remember the Great Table where you could eat & chew the fat with other diners. Lots of U.Village memories from the ’60’s to the ’90’s.

  30. I worked at the bowling alley, great fun. Walked to Husky stadium to watch Bob Schloredt, Joe Jones loose to Navy 10 to 11, a good game. Ron Robertson ran the bowling alley, lots of fun there.

  31. So far I have yet to see anyone mention, Mr.Peepers-the best doll house store, New York Bagel Boys-best bagels outside of NY, the natural supplement store (not sure if the name) that had the best frozen soft serve yogurt, the doughnut shop between Lamont’s and Kay’s Bookmark, the very smallStarbucks next to the cool plant store (across from the original QFC), the liquor store with the friendliest guys next to the post office which was next I NY bagel boys, bronka’s (owner the coolest survivor of concentration camps of WW2), the Children’s Shop, Fine Threads, and finally Sports West (second floor corner of Lamont’s).

  32. Anonymous says:

    Former employee of Bronka here. What about the soda counter at Woolworth’s? Mom’s (diner) was also a favorite spot!

  33. KISS never played the Village Lanes … as the P-I article correctly explains they were laid up in Seattle because of bad weather and went out for some recreational bowling. A group of Roosevelt High School students got wind of KISS’ presence and ‘streaked’ through Village Lanes screaming “We love you KISS!”. Completely naked except for some plastic sheep masks the origin of and explanation for remains a mystery.

  34. Cahill Hard says:

    Awesome recollections! I was there as a kid in the 80s and remember the Village Lanes and coming back smelling like cigarettes, enjoyed getting a few posters at BGT’s, the bagels at New York Bagel for picnics w/ family at eek and squeak park, the Confectionary, school supplies at Sab-Tec, lessons from Fiorini, cool neon Gotcha shirts at Lamont’s, Honey Baked Hams, Middle school coed dates at flaky jakes, then w/ virgin margaritas at Azteca with Dr. Love coin op machine, the Post Office, and a toy store I forget the name of. The smell of Ernst!!

  35. Who is this mystery person who worked at Don’s Hobbies? I was Don’s wife and still run into people who tell me about the hobby shop they shipped at. It was a fun part of our lives as well as many of the other U Village stores.

  36. I remember driving to U Village with my Dad to specifically shop at Ernst for individual C-7 (indoor) and C-9 (outdoor) colored Christmas replacement lightbulbs, and my Mom driving me to Stitch ‘N Time to take sewing lessons. I remember the amazing smells coming from the donut shop as we waited in line to see Santa in the mall area outside Lamonts.

  37. Montlake Kid says:

    I am a “Montlake Kid”. Grew up just across “the bridge”. Rode my bike all the time to The Village. I so, so miss those times. I worked one summer at the donut/sandwich shop. I completely remember the Woolworth’s, lunch counter (awesome milkshakes) and shopping there for Christmas gifts! I also remember the Pay ‘n Save, Ernst ‘n Malmo, and Suzanne…you and I might have been in the same Stich ‘n Time sewing classes!

    Then Mom’s Diner, Village Lanes (ton’s of memories), Fiorini’s (where RAM used to be and my brother caught bus to Snoqualmie)

    I could go on and on and on! It used to be a great community, but is now, sadly, the BelSquare of the West.

  38. Claude Rorabaugh says:

    I resided at 57th and 26th NE. U Village was deligthful! There was a radio station below the furniture store and shop on 25th. KLSN. I hug out there as a kid and got very interested in radio in the late 60’s.

    Our little boy had a secret way to the Village, down 26th – through school housing to gate the north of what was the original RAM, then Sabtec and the Pay ‘n Save.

    I don’t recall the Lumber yard and Fuel store name but from the late 60’s to the time we moved to Vancouver, WA in 1992 they had a pile of coal. Grass and weeds finally took it out!

    I bought my mom and dads house and my wife refloored our home with wood she got there. It was the only store in town with old oak wood flooring then.

    About 1980 if memory serves Starbucks opened their second store. I quipped who will pay $2 for a coffee when Mom’s restaurant has it for 50 cents!

    My wife worked at Pasta and Company for many years. Those folks were great. If I had a business trip, they’d let her bring our kid to work to be in the office coloring or playing with his toys. Very mellow and family friendly people!

  39. Doug Salmon says:

    I remember Rhodes when I was little. My mom worked at the candy counter and she’d give me chocolate orange sticks. The Donut shop made awesome donuts and you could watch them make yours! Then they’d come out on that conveyer belt. So cool when you’re 8 years old.
    Bought my first book in the bookstore near that donut shop.
    My dad would take me to play pool at Village Lanes. I also remember going to Burgermaster and throwing fries out the window to the birds when I was 3 or 4.
    This was all late sixties and early seventies.
    Woolworth’s, Ernst, buying my Nike hi-tops at Lamonts fir basketball.
    Good memories. Different Seattle back then.

  40. From 1980 to 1989 I worked at The Children’s Shop with Glen Harrison, Eileen Douglas and Jane Funch. Good times. Shirley Downing.

  41. Born in 1974 and came to U Village often from 20th Ave NE. A few additional memories: 1) Gary Davidson was the owner of Fine Threads (upscale boys and men boutique) and always greeted you with an over-the-top hello when you walked in. My mom bought an etiquette book called _Stand Up, Shake Hands, Say How Do You Do_ from him that is still my go-to. 2) Gypsy was the boys clothing saleswoman at Lamonts for much of the 1980s; always a bit mysterious, she had the most magnificent eyeliner that she connected well past the place where her eyelids met. 3) The Confectionary was the name of the candy shop, near the old Starbucks (my mom used to drive beans from that store down to friends in Portland) and across from the old QFC (remember the neon Van De Kamp’s sign on the south side of the QFC?) 4) I think there was a gas station above that QFC. I remember waiting in long gas lines to fill up there during the 1979 energy crisis. 5) I opened my first bank account at Seattle Trust, which was on the corner northeast of the old QFC. Later it was a Key Bank. Thanks to everyone for pulling so many memories!

  42. Buffyslaysstalkers says:

    Ballard Bitch Boy, have you finished stalking me cuz you’re a straight up bore! And dumb as a box of rocks


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