Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

This application will be offline for Maintenance Saturday Feb 4th from 6am to noon

New Search

Summary for 1003 Alaskan WAY / Parcel ID 7666202495 / Inv #

Historic Name: Pier 3 Common Name: Pier 54
Style: Commercial, Other - Utilitarian Neighborhood: Downtown Urban Center
Built By: Year Built: 1900
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
Renamed Pier 54 during World War II, Pier 3 and its waterfront transit shed were constructed during 1900. Pier 3/54 was the second of three adjacent piers built by the Northern Pacific Railroad. The pier was also the second of four railroad piers, constructed according to the northeast-southwest angle, prescribed by City Engineer Reginald Thomson and Assistant City Engineer George Cotterill in the 1897 tidelands replat. Previously the piers had generally been constructed perpendicular to the waterfront. As more piers were constructed, this had caused serious logistical problems. Since the waterfront itself changes directions at both Yesler Way and Union Street, if numerous piers of great length were built, they could potentially bump into each other and/ or there would be a greater potential for ships to collide. Another advantage of the new design was that trains, traveling from Railroad Avenue and loading and unloading at the pier, would not be forced to turn at a sharp right angle. In this case, there were railroad spurs for loading and unloading freight on both the north and south sides of the pier. The transit shed’s first tenants were Galbraith and Bacon, who moved there in 1900. A few years after the Great Fire of 1889, around 1891, James Galbraith had established a business in grain and hay. Around 1899, he joined in a partnership with Cecil Bacon. The two developed a business, which dealt in not only grain and hay, but also in building materials. A number of photos from the 1900s show large lettered signs with the names “Galbraith and Bacon,” with additional signage advertising “building materials,” and “wholesale dealers in hay, grain, feed, flour, plaster cement.” A photo dating from around 1902 also shows a western view of the building, with signs for “hay” and “grain,” set next to the second floor openings of the western elevation. Pier 3 became one of the important docks for the Mosquito Fleet, steam vessels which connected a number of towns along the Puget Sound. In particular, it became the Seattle port of call for the Kitsap Transportation Company, run by Walter Galbraith, the son of James Galbraith. As a result, the pier, then known as the Galbraith Dock, became a center of competition between vessels of the Kitsap Transportation Company and the Black Ball Line, which ran from Colman Dock. Pier 3 remained the homeport for many well-known Kitsap Transportation Company vessels, including the Kitsap, the Utopia, the Reliance and the Hyak. From 1929 to about 1935, the Galbraith Dock operated as the general headquarters and landing dock for the Gorst Air Transport “air ferry” service. The service consisted of Keystone-Loening amphibian planes, which landed in the water near the pier and then traveled up a ramp on the south side of the pier, in order to load and unload passengers. Other facilities for the service were located at Pier 2 (at the foot of 2nd Street) in Bremerton. Meanwhile, by 1938, the Kitsap Transportation Company, supplanted by trucks and cars, went out of business. In the same year, Ivar Haglund also rented the northeast corner of the pier shed for his one room aquarium, which included a small fish and chips stand. By the mid-1930s, the Northern Pacific still owned the pier. By 1944, Washington Fish and Oyster Company was both the owner and main tenant. The engineering firm of Reese and Callender Associates produced drawings, consisting mainly of details for the structural strengthening of the building. The plans also show the layout of the main interior of the pier shed. In addition to office space located mainly in the front southeastern corner, the first floor included a large storage room, a smoke fish room, a salt fish room, (to be kept at temperatures from 35 degrees to 40 degrees), a “glazing room,” and freezer rooms. During this time, Ivar Haglund continued to rent space for his aquarium on the northeast side of the building. It is shown in further drawings from 1945 by Reese and Callender for a design of the Washington Fish and Oyster Company’s office space; however the aquarium closed. Ivar Haglund was much more successful with his restaurant, which was located on the opposite southeastern corner. Designs, also by Reese and Callender, modified the southeast portion of the original southern shed addition. The drawings by Reese and Callender, which date from 1946, as well as to photos of the period, show a restaurant space for Ivar Haglund, with streamline Moderne shapes and detailing. In particular, the design created a streamlined southeastern corner, behind which stood Ivar’s broadcast booth. In 1966, Ivar Haglund purchased Pier 54 from Washington Fish and Oyster Company, who then became his tenant. Additional changes were made to the southeast corner in the late 1960s, with a new “wind screen” of aluminum frame and tempered glass added around the exterior seating area to the south. In general, modifications and additions were made to the southeast corner occupied by Haglund’s restaurant between the 1940s and the 1980s. Based on drawings from 1983, the Bumgardner Partnership altered the east elevation to its present appearance, adding a new restaurant entry to the south of the main shed elevation. Since Ivar Haglund’s death in 1985, his company continues to own and operate the restaurant pier, which now has very strong associations with his memory. Along with Piers 55 to 59, Pier 54 retains the most important elements of its original appearance and a strong sense of its original architectural character and workmanship. Along with them, it is one of the last of Seattle’s waterfront transit sheds. Pier 54 is particularly significant because of its association with early and innovative transportation methods, fish processing and Seattle’s commercial development.
The former Pier 3, now Pier 54, is sited on the Seattle waterfront, at the foot of Madison Street. The pier itself is a parallelogram in plan, approximately 168 feet by 314 feet. It is supported by timber pilings, set approximately 3 feet on center in the north-south direction and approximately 10 feet on center in the east-west direction. Bridged with 12 x 16 timbers, the pilings are topped by 4 x 12 wood decking. The plan of the pier shed, also a parallelogram, is approximately 128 feet in width by 260 feet in length. On its east and west elevations, the two-story pier shed presents a gable end, which includes a monitor roof at the second level. On the longer, north and south elevations, the monitor roof is expressed as a series of multi-pane clerestory window openings, which allow light into the interior space. The exterior wood frame walls, historically wood clad, are currently clad with horizontal bevel siding. The interior structure of the building includes regularly spaced heavy timber posts and repeated heavy timber truss work at the second level, set below the roof framing. An east-west cross-section, (in the short direction), reveals three bays, with the monitor roof, supported on framing set over the central bay. The central bay also had another central row of wooden posts at the first level. Drawings from 1934 also show a low, one story, one-bay shed roof added to the north side of the building, as well as a two-bay shed roof addition to the south side of the building. Both of these are visible on a photo taken around 1902. Viewed from the west, the building still retains it original general form; however, the south shed roof addition has been modified, to accommodate Ivar’s Restaurant: a second narrow addition, with a flat roof, has been added along the length of the south elevation. Since the 1940s, there have also been a variety of modifications to the southeastern portion of the southern addition, also to accommodate Ivar’s Restaurant. In original photos from around the early 1900s, ferries usually obstruct a clear view of the western elevation, while trains cover much of the eastern elevation. It appears that an original double sliding door and flanking double-hung windows have been replaced. Instead there are four framed openings, topped by a three-sided polygonal shape. The western elevation includes two large multi-pane windows at the second level, which correspond to an original multi-pane window and what was the opening for a hay loft. Other openings on the first level, particularly on the north side of the elevation, appear to be the same as those shown on the early photographs. North and south views show that, aside from the later southern addition, the general form of the building, as well as the multi-pane clerestory windows have been retained. Despite changes, given that this building was part of a working pier, it has retained its most significant architectural features.

Detail for 1003 Alaskan WAY / Parcel ID 7666202495 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Structure District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Other
Roof Type(s): Gable, Monitor, Shed Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Timber Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation, Manufacturing/Industry, Politics/Government/Law, Social Movements & Organizations, Transportation
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Storefront: Moderate
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Dorpat, Paul. Seattle Waterfront: An Illustrated History. Seattle, June 2005.
“Gorst Air Transport seaplane, Seattle, ca. 1935.” Museum of History and Industry Photograph Collection, Image No. SHS 15808.
“Galbraith Dock, Seattle, ca. 1902.” Museum of History and Industry Photograph Collection, Image No. 2002.3.456.
Sheridan, Mimi.“SR 99: Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Project Historic Resources Inventory.” Draft, ca. 2004.

Photo collection for 1003 Alaskan WAY / Parcel ID 7666202495 / Inv #

Photo taken Oct 09, 2006

Photo taken Dec 16, 2006
App v2.0.1.0