The Brown and Hawkins Store was built by accretion and today reveals its growth from its founding in the earliest days of Seward. The store was established in 1903 on this site in a previous one-story building; the first part of this store was constructed in 1904. Theodore William Hawkins and Charles E. Brown had met in Valdez, where they opened a general merchandise store together. In 1903, they moved to the new town of Seward. Furnishing goods to miners, fishermen, and railroad people, Brown and Hawkins also founded the Bank of Seward, originally located in their store. Brown was part owner in a steamship company, and Hawkins was president of the Independence Mine north of Anchorage. Brown moved to Anchorage and opened a store there in 1915; it closed in 1926. Hawkins operated the Seward store until his death in 1946, and it has remained in the family since.
The building constructed in 1904 was a two-story, wood-framed structure with large display windows flanking a central, recessed entrance. Brown and Hawkins acquired a one-story building next door (north, right) and in 1909 had a second floor added with a single false front across the two buildings. It also had a balcony, supported by thin columns, that extended over the sidewalk.
Some time between 1911 and 1915 Brown and Hawkins acquired the one-story building on the other side for use as a hardware department. A few modifications were made to that building, including the installation of a balcony.
The building has been severely altered, but even in its evolved form, it is the best evidence of Seward's original commercial strip.