This edition documents Seattle's constructions between 1890-1930. Over 300+ photographs document historical structures establishing a visual profile and economic time capsule of Seattle's early economic legacy.
The edition portrays the most influential downtown constructions including the Smith and Seattle Towers, Washington Mutual Triangle, Coliseum Theatre and the Interurban, Arctic, Dexter Horton, and Pioneer Buildings. Photographs from multiple perspectives accentuate distinctive architectural traits and detailing.
Contemporary Seattle is undergoing a dynamic resurgence of architectural construction consisting primarily of skyscrapers. Each completed monolith provides an intriguing and often imposing contrast to the modestly scaled structures from a distant era. Historical preservation has enabled Seattle to assume a distinctive and prominent in West Coast architecture.
Seattle's integration of traditional and contemporary design reinforces its image as a desirable urban living environment. Few American cities can still document the precise stages of their evolution by the remaining strata of their architecture.
Seattle is an exemplary example showcasing that capability.
Historically Seattle was deeply traumatized by a devastating June 6th, 1889 fire that decimated the entire downtown commercial district. The entire composition of wood framed structures was destroyed. The catastrophe ironically rejuvenated the downtown, resulting in a fervent reconstruction program consisting exclusively of stone and brick structures. Most remain standing today. Wood framed building construction was prohibited.
The nationwide financial Panic of 1893 compounded the calamity causing a massive slowdown in construction. The Klondike gold rush of 1896 spurred regional economic activity, particularly in providing goods and services to the Alaskan bound miners.
During the first two decades of the 20th century, Seattle accommodated a massive incoming immigration. The influx resulted in the creation of outlying tightly concentrated neighborhoods. The downtown core swelled minus coordinated zoned planning. Steep hillsides were lowered to enable fresh constructions and greenbelt territories. Parklands, bridges and public works projects proliferated creating a diverse blend of ambiance and chaos.
In 1914, the 38-story Smith Tower was constructed and named after firearm and typewriter magnate Lyman Cornelius Smith. The skyscraper was Seattle's first and among the tallest outside of New York City at the time of its completion. It remained the tallest building west of the Mississippi until 1931 and was only eclipsed within Seattle upon the construction of the iconic Space Needle in 1962.
"Historic Seattle Architecture" showcases the unique charm of urban Seattle that was and still remains.