Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

New Search

Summary for 114 Alaskan WAY / Parcel ID 5247800025 / Inv #

Historic Name: Prudential Building/ Fred Cole Building Common Name: Prudential Building
Style: Commercial, Commercial - Chicago School Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1902
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
The Prudential Building appears to have been built in 1902, a time of great prosperity in Seattle, as a result of the Klondike Gold Rush. Other records suggest that it was may have been built somewhat later, between 1904-05. The building was erected on the tidal flats, which by 1893 were being reclaimed to create Railroad Avenue, now Alaskan Way. Soil from the regrading of the Seattle’s hills was used to fill in the swamplands bordering Elliott Bay. Because of the difficulty of this enterprise and a dispute over the grading of the new streets in the tidelands area, construction had been held up for a time; however, by 1902, construction in this area was in full force. The Prudential Building was a harbinger of the subsequent development of the Seattle tidelands into a valuable manufacturing district. To the north of the Prudential Building is the former Heffernan Engine Works Building (110 Alaskan Way), a later building of 1918, which replaced a series of wooden industrial buildings; but there were also vestiges of the first development of the area, right after the Fire of 1889: the former Lowman and Hanford Printing and Binding Building (68-74 South Washington St) from 1890 sits to the south of the Prudential Building. The Prudential Building is, in many ways, typical of the type of warehouse and manufacturing building, erected at the time of the economic and industrial boom, after the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98. While it is a simple building, the design of its façade resembles many of the Chicago School influenced warehouse buildings built in this period in the Pioneer Square area, such as the Seller or the Hambach Building, on First Avenue South, between Jackson and King Street, for instance. {Several floors of recessed of double-hung windows and spandrels surmount a strong base. Based on the Part II for the mid-80s rehabilitation by Ralph Anderson Koch and Duarte, the original parapet was higher and was probably lowered to meet code; so that the building would originally have followed the typical Chicago School mode, where the façade would have had a strong base, middle and top. Drawings included in records at the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation also indicate that Tonkin Koch Architects were responsible for a renovation of the storefront fenestration in 1986, which was badly damaged. The rehabilitation of the building was careful: the basic integrity of the original building materials and design has been respected. } The building was owned by the Prudential Bond Investment Company from 1904 to 1923 and then by William Grimshaw, vice-president of the Prudential Company, primarily a real estate firm, from 1923 to 1946. At least from the 1920s until the late 1960s, the Prudential Building housed industrial businesses. In the 1920s and 1930s, it was the home of Acme Steel and Valco Chemical Companies, while the upper floors served a variety of uses: warehouse, office and residential space. In 1946, the neighboring Lowman and Hanford Printing Company acquired the building and used it as a warehouse. They also altered it to accommodate a spray room. In 1969, the Fred Cole Company bought the building. Perhaps not surprisingly, in the original Pioneer Square National Register Nomination, the building was listed as the “Fred Cole Factory.” By 1982, the building was described as housing a “collection of retail antique shops,” in its basement.
This six story warehouse and manufacturing building occupies a long narrow lot and has an angled façade which echoes the northwesterly line of Elliott Bay. Its main west façade is oriented toward Alaskan Way and is set fairly close to the current Alaskan Way Viaduct. The other elevations are not visible from the street. The exterior walls are masonry while the interior structural system is heavy timber. It includes timber columns and flooring. The west elevation – painted brick- consists at the lower level of a double height storefront, divided into two bays, which are surmounted by a flat belt-course emphasized by a dentil band beneath it. The upper part of the façade consists of two recessed bays. Here, each bay opening contains four wood sash double-hung windows, set side by side. The four level bays are each emphasized by a simple band of raised brick which creates a rectangular enclosure around each bay. The top of the façade is topped by a sign that says “Prudential,” originally made of sandstone. A rehabilitation in the mid- 1980s added a penthouse, which is barely visible from the street and only from certain angles.

Detail for 114 Alaskan WAY / Parcel ID 5247800025 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat, Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Commercial/Trade - Warehouse Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Mixed No. of Stories: six
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry, Science & Engineering
Storefront: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Interior: Moderate
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
"The Prudential Building (Fred Cole Co.), 114 Alaskan Way, Historic Preservation Certification, Part 1." 13 September 1982.
Lange, Greg and Tim O’Brian. “Virtual Pioneer Square,” unpublished manuscript, 27 October 1996. City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods, Historic Preservation Program files.
"The Compass Center, 77-79 South Washington Street, Historic Preservation Certification Application, Part 1." 24 January 2003. (OAHP Archives Microgiche File).

Photo collection for 114 Alaskan WAY / Parcel ID 5247800025 / Inv #

Photo taken Jun 08, 2004
App v2.0.1.0