215 First Street
Museo (Hardware / Sportsmen's Center / Furniture / Feed Store / Restaurants)
1940's: Mortenson Hardware
Circa 1942. Mortenson Hardware (arrow) (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).
Marten Mortenson ran a hardware store in the building during the 1940's. He also sold Shell gasoline from pumps in front of the store.
1952: Sportsmen's Center
Circa 1955. Heins' Sportmen's Center (Courtesy Marion Henny).
Bernard ("Barney") Hein bought the Hardware and ran it with his wife Marjorie. They eventually branched out and carried boating equipment and small outboard motors to capture the growing recreational boating industry.
The Heins sold the store in 1959 and renovated the old brush plant at the Langley wharf into the "Langley Marina."
1960: Dewey Hoekstra's Furniture.
1961. Dewey Hoekstra's Furniture Store (Courtesy Darrell Corbin).
Dewey Hoekstra operated a furniture store in the building for a time in the 1960's. It was then home to Hizey's Farm Store.
According to Mully Mullaly, "Gladys had it. She was from Idaho. She had stacks of chicken feed and pig feed. There was a wood stove. She'd be quilting and she'd talk your ear off. When she moved her feed store out to Bayview Cash Store, Brian McKenna moved into the building with his B-Store in 1975."
The B-Store shared the front with the Red Star music store run by Mully Mallaly, her husband Skip, and Country Joe McDonald. Larry Dobson and Lauri had a "Daily Bread" bakery in the back, and there was also a kind of food bank in the back.
The Red Star Music lasted about 1 year, then Brian took over the entire front, and finally the entire building for his B-Street Cafe when the Daily Bread moved across the street in 1977.
Brian was 19 years old. He applied for a liquor license and they gave it to him, then found out he was too young.
1977: B-Street Cafe
Circa 1978. View from inside B-Street Cafe (Courtesy South Whidbey Historical Society).
Brian McKenna came to Langley from California in 1971. He went to a cooking School in Seattle and wanted to open a restaurant in Langley. He choose the former Hizey building, but it needed considerable repair and remodeling. According to Linda Anderson, "They sand blasted the walls down to the original wood on the inside."
At the appointed time, Brian bought supplies in Seattle and arrived in Langley to find that the building wasn't ready. He sat in his car on the street outside and sold all his supplies. Virginia LaRue bought all the artichokes.
There was a wood stove in the center and you could sit around the wood stove. It could seat 50 or 60 people. Sandy Izett remembers "he would have special chefs sometimes and you could get an incredible gourmet meal. The 'Sandy Pointers' would get in on that and reserve 30 seats. When the Soup Coop closed, the B-Street became like a community center for all ages. There was a glass counter and you could buy fresh roasted coffee beans. He was the first one who had all this healthy stuff; organic coffee, teas, etc. According to Brian, "it was a 'hippy-dippy' place, serving sprouts, etc. before they became fashionable."
1980: Al's Place
1983. Al's Place Restaurant (Courtesy Bob Frause).
When Brian McKenna closed his restaurant and opened B's - Treats ice cream store across the street in 1980, Al Rheinhart moved his restaurant from the former Langley Drugs into the space.
1985: Mike's Place
1985. Mike's Place Restaurant (Courtesy Langley City Hall).
After Al's Place closed, Michael Rosenberg opened Mike's Place restaurant in the building on July 4, 1985. According to Mike, "Warmth filled the room from the pot-bellied stove. Quaint and friendly, the old building had uneven wooden floors with gravity taking its course. There was a water runoff underneath the building, which inspired constant problem solving. When the landlord couldn't renew the lease because the city wouldn't give him a license without making improvements, he decided he could leave the rats behind and create a new, wonderful place for his restaurant in the remodeled Clyde Motors building on the corner of First Street and Anthes Avenue."
1992: Building demolished.
1992. Building demolished (Courtesy Michael Boyd).
According to James Anderson, "When they were tearing down Mike's Place, and excavating for the foundation, they found an old hollowed out cedar log that that traversed First Street and dumped out on the other side of the Dog House. It must have been for the creek, not a storm drain."
2017. Museo (Courtesy Robert Waterman).
A three-story building designed by Ross Chapin was constructed on the site to house the Museo fine art Gallery, vacation rental and several offices. A roof terrace with the top floor set back helped scale it down on First Street. The shape of the top of the original false front was retained as a reminder of the former building, and a small overhang was added over the sidewalk to provide protection for patrons waiting in line to attend the movie at the Clyde Theatre next door.