Interurban Building - Seattle, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NW_history_buff
N 47° 36.098 W 122° 20.039
10T E 550063 N 5272239
Quick Description: A beautiful brick and terra-cotta building in downtown Seattle contains a plaque hanging in front that notes its history.
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 9/7/2017 3:40:10 PM
Waymark Code: WMWHMZ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
Views: 6

Long Description:

A plaque located in front of a beautiful brick and terra-cotta building in downtown Seattle and across the street from Pioneer Square reads:

INTERURBAN BUILDING

ORIGINALLY KNOWN AS THE PACIFIC BLOCK, THIS BUILDING WAS DESIGNED BY JOHN PARKINSON, A NOTEWORTHY SEATTLE-LOS ANGELES ARCHITECT. BUILT IN 1890, IT HOUSED THE OFFICE OF THE PUGET SOUND ELECTRIC RAILWAY INTERURBAN LINE, WHICH SERVED SEATTLE AND TACOMA. BEGINNING SERVICE IN 1902, THE INTERURBAN RAILWAY OPERATED UNTIL 1928 WHEN IT WAS ABANDONED, DUE TO THE INCREASED USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE.

Further research on this building tells us that this building was originally known as the Seattle National Bank Building. The Seattle.gov website (link below) details the building's past and tell us:

Wrap Text around Image...William Rankin Ballard (1847-1929), a prominent Seattle business leader who in 1883 also founded the new town of Ballard, (now a neighborhood of Seattle proper), commissioned the building for the newly formed Seattle National Bank. Ballard and the Seattle National Bank investors wanted the building to be the finest business block in Seattle. The building shows the influence of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. An April 30, 1890 Seattle Post-Intelligencer article wrote: “The exterior of the building will be Romanesque in style and nothing but pressed brick, stone and terra cotta will be used. The corner will be rounded and the whole building will present as fine an appearance as any other building in the Northwest.” The Seattle National Bank/ Interurban Building is indeed one of the finest examples of buildings erected in the “burnt district” after the Fire of 1889.
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The corner entrance with the carved lion’s head was the bank entrance, while the main entrance to the building (and to the upper floors) was, and still is, on the Yesler Way elevation.
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The Seattle National Bank Building also housed the offices of the city’s first interurban railway started in 1889, hence the building’s current name. The railway line took passengers as far as the then independent town of Georgetown. The line went bankrupt and was taken over in 1902 by the Puget Sound Electric Railway, which took passengers as far as Tacoma. Historically, the building has had other names. By the mid-1960s, it was considered and known as the Smith Tower Annex. The building suffered some damage during the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake, but has been restored, so that its exterior reflects its historic architectural glory.

Marker Name: Interurban Building

Marker Type: City

Town name: Seattle

Date marker was placed: 1989

Placer: Historic Seattle, Museum of History and Industry, Pioneer Square Businesses and King County

Related website: [Web Link]

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CarriVT visited Interurban Building - Seattle, WA 11/25/2015 CarriVT visited it