The central area within the heart of Georgetown was once a small township called Oxbow, named for the meandering Duwamish River that encapsulated and separated it from the rest of Georgetown. Early residents recognized an opportunity, and quickly developed the area for its industrial uses. The 1910 annexation of Georgetown into Seattle and subsequent construction of a Seattle-Oxbow bridge followed, increasing connection and productivity in the neighborhood. Between 1913 and 1920, the Duwamish River was dredged and straightened, eradicating what once was Oxbow, and making way for Seattle‘s growth.
Today's "Oxbow" is an assemblage of three historical buildings whose shape was intensely influenced by the Washington-Oregon Railroad line (an industrial spur) which once cut completely through the property, and terminated at the north edge of what is now Boeing Field (formerly Meadows Race Track ).
The "triangle" building at 6124 12th Ave South is reported to have been built in 1922, with Peter Scalzo's White Star barber shop on the ground floor, and a small living quarters above it. In 1928, a small, single-story brick office building was built across the railroad track to the east (faces Bailey St). This structure housed the original offices of G. Porcella & Co.
The following year, the company expanded with a garage building for delivery trucks. In the late 1930s, there was a period when the site housed two car dealerships. In 1941 there was an addition made to the original office building (extending it into the lot) since the industrial railroad spur had become inactive.
More information about the history of the Georgetown neighborhood can be uncovered at Friends of Georgetown History.
The Oxbow Story
Oxbow is a place where diverse disciplines cross and collaborate—experimenting through art installations, performances, workshops, music, films, and lectures.
Oxbow's artist-in-residence program was established to provide a unique platform for site-specific installations and performance. Openings and artist lectures are held regularly in the central gallery space.
Design/build company BEMA has led the complete transformation of this historic property. The redevelopment effort included collaboration with architect Jay Deguchi (Suyama Peterson Deguchi) and Hank Dufour Construction.