Patrick Robinson
Barncut's Admiral Way Service station has been sold, marking the end of 90 years of ownership by the Barnecut family.

Barnecuts Admiral Way Service Station sold after 90 years of ownership

A fixture in West Seattle business, Barnecut's Admiral Way Service station at 4100 SW Admiral Way has been sold to Marc Gartin. Gartin is also the owner of the Admiral Theater building, the Bartell Drugs property, and the Admiral Way Chevron station land.

Dick Barnecut, whose father George Barnecut Sr. founded a service station in the Admiral District in 1923, said, "My dad was in business across from where the Starbucks is now, that whole property was Union Oil property. Then on March 12, 1932 he moved across the street to the new station."

Barnecut, now 87, has been in West Seattle all his life. He's wistful about the change but grateful and said he would share a letter to that effect soon. "It's been a great opportunity and a privilege to be able to grow up in a community and have all your friends and neighbors support you. It's a special place. How can you be sad about someplace you've worked for 70 years?"

He started working there when we was in high school in 1940, continued until he went in the Navy in 1944 then came back and worked ever since. "It will seem strange not to be able to walk up to that corner, walk in and sit down."

"It got so difficult to make any money and Andrew (his son who has been running it) was struggling. The county assessment was so high, it was twice the valuation of what it was worth. So it was costing us $20,000 a year in property tax. It's been that way for the last three or four years. That's one of the things that rankles me," Barnecut said.

The station was completely remodeled in 1995 changing from a Texaco to a Shell station.

"There were a lot of pressures. First of all, people buy less gas. Second, there are more places that are selling it like Costco, Safeway and others. We're the last ones to give service pumping gas and that's kind of archaic too."

There is even less money in auto repairs Barnecut explained because "the cars require less."

The station has served as a place for work for many people in West Seattle. "Out of the people who have worked there two of them are lawyers, got one doctor, a couple of teachers. It's been a pretty nice group of young men and women," Barnecut said. But those currently employed already have new jobs, except for his son Andrew who will now seek employment.

There are remediation issues with the land, and as part of selling the property a survey was conducted and they estimated it would cost $323,000. "That comes out of my pocket," said Barnecut.

This, despite the fact that the underground tanks are in good shape. "This is maybe from before. I don't know."

Barnecut said he was not certain what would become of the station but they are meeting with Gartin next week. "I think he wants to keep it as a station. I don't know."

NOTE: The Herald will publish Dick Barnecut's letter online and in print next week.

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