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A neon sign lights up with letters that spell 'Standard.'
Media Caption
Standard Radio is a neighborhood icon for Roosevelt.

Roosevelt history lives on at new light rail station

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When we open three new Link light rail stations at U District, Roosevelt and Northgate on Oct. 2, it will be one of many changes these neighborhoods have seen over recent years. 

But some things don't have to change. Thanks to community input and a lot of behind the scenes work, we were able to preserve an iconic piece of Roosevelt history for new generations. 

Before construction began on the light rail extension to Northgate, several buildings stood on the site of Roosevelt Station. 

One was the Standard Radio building. Built in 1947, Standard Radio was a neighborhood icon, with an eye-catching facade inspired by the Streamline Moderne variation of Art Deco style.

Here are some photos of the sign over the years:

Photos of the Standard Radio sign in 1947, 2011 and 2020.

The building featured two retail spaces, most memorably occupied by Standard Records and Hi-Fi Company and JnS Phonograph Needles.

Whether in search of new or used radios, phonographs, vinyl records, accessories or repair services, generations of North Seattle audiophiles relied on the buzzing businesses in the Standard Radio building.

Sound Transit began working with Roosevelt residents on station design after purchasing the property in 2010.

Seizing an opportunity to preserve a piece of the neighborhood’s historic fabric, we deconstructed the entire building facade in order to incorporate it into the new station. The result is what you see today. 

Just steps from their original location, the Standard Radio neon sign and canopy now float above ticket machines surrounded by the shiny Vitrolite glass tiles that once graced the building.  

A neon sign that says 'Standard Radio' is above ticket vending machines at Roosevelt Station.
The Standard Radio sign in its new home.

Dismantling the Standard Radio facade was a delicate task.

In 2012, Sound Transit contractor Moon Construction carefully removed the Vitrolite glass tiles, followed by the fragile neon tubes that outlined each letter on the curved canopy.

They next removed the Standard letters themselves and the remaining sheet metal features, and finally came the steel tees that supported the sign.

Throughout the process, they developed detailed drawings so that station construction contractors could accurately reassemble each piece when the time came. 

After six years safely boxed up in a Sound Transit storage facility, the facade elements re-emerged in 2018, when station contractor Hoffman Construction Company began to reconstruct them. 

A neon sign lights up with letters that spell 'Standard.'
The neon was restored by a local company, Western Neon.
A man works in a shop surrounded by neon signs.
Fusing the past, present and future with neon signage.

The facade you see today includes some refabricated elements. The original canopy and letter sheet metal had deteriorated beyond repair due to the decades of weather exposure on the Standard Radio building.

New sheet metal and neon tubes now replicate the old, but the Vitrolite is original to the building. 

While the building itself could not live on, Standard Radio’s iconic facade will continue to welcome Roosevelt residents and visitors for decades to come. 

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