Sunday/ Pioneer Square 🧱

Here are pictures from my (self-directed) architecture appreciation tour today, around Pioneer Square.

Here’s the Pioneer Square light rail entrance and exit hall, on Yesler Way.
Looking up at one of Seattle’s most famous landmarks: Smith Tower, constructed in 1914 and named after its builder, the firearm and typewriter magnate Lyman Cornelius Smith (not related to Horace Smith of Smith & Wesson).
Detail of the white terra-cotta cladding on the walls and the overhang of the pyramid top of the Tower.
The Collins Building right next door, in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, was built much earlier, in 1894. The construction was paid for and supervised by Irish-American businessman John Collins, who had also served as Seattle’s fourth elected mayor.
Across the street is the Corona Lofts apartment building, which is also a historic landmark building, built in 1903.
Walking along Yesler Way towards the waterfront, and here is the canopy at the old Travelers Hotel building (constructed 1913) that says Barney McCoy’s Buffet Lunch, Cigars, on the side that is facing the street. (Present day there is a cozy eatery called 84 Yesler inside).
The CitizenM hotel at Yesler and Alaskan Way is a brand-new boutique hotel (it’s a Dutch brand). The large tiled graphic mural is called ‘Schema’: an abstract map depicting layers of Seattle’s early history and idiosyncrasies.
The Pioneer Square Hotel was designed by architect Albert Wickersham and built in 1914. By the 1930s it was a flophouse (a cheap hotel & rooming house). Restored in the 1990s, and now run by the Best Western franchise, it had long been the only hotel in Pioneer Square. (The new CitizenM hotel is kitty corner from it).
Here’s the corner of Yesler and First Avenue. This building started out as the National Bank of Commerce building, constructed in 1890-91. (So right after the Great Fire of Seattle in 1899, which had destroyed 25 city blocks, including some in Pioneer Square).
‘Constructed in 1890 and known as the Squire-Latimer Building for many years, this ornate brick building was the home of Seattle’s Grand Central Hotel (1897-1933). Like many luxury hotels, the Grand Central did not outlast the lean years of the Great Depression’. -from
A peek of the hallway inside the boarded-up Grand Central Hotel building with my phone camera’s wide-angle lens.
The four-story State Building on South Washington Street, built in the Queen Anne – Richardsonian Romanesque style, is another that was constructed in 1891, right after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889.
The Broderick Building (constructed in 1892), is a six-story building with brick walls and large blocks of rusticated Tenino sandstone on its main facades.
The Mutual Life Building of 1897, built in a modified Romanesque Revival style, is on First Avenue. It had suffered minor earthquake damage on two or three occasions, and was in need of some repair work by the 1970s. In 1983, the totally empty Mutual Life Building was purchased by Historic Seattle, and they spearheaded a complete architectural rehabilitation the following year.
A closer look at the detail at the base of the arch at the building’s entrance.
This is the public space called Occidental Square, and the totem artwork is of Tsonoqua, a mythological giantess and ‘nightmare bringer’ invoked by exasperated North Coast mothers to frighten their children into obedience.
Another view of Occidental Square. The Seattle Fallen Firefighters Memorial statue by Hai Ying Wu (1995) honors generations of heroes. On the right are the glass windows of the Occidental Street offices of the timberland and wood products company Weyerhauser (completed 2016).
All right .. time to go home, and here comes the southbound train rolling into Pioneer Square station. I took the northbound train three stops up to Capitol Hill, and hey! just as I walked out of the Capitol Hill station, the No 8 bus rolled up to take me another seven blocks closer to home.

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