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Summary for 319 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 5247800715 / Inv #

Historic Name: Wittler Block. Shanks & Mills Block, Derig Hotel, Elliott House, Star Lodge Common Name: Cadillac Hotel
Style: Queen Anne - Richardsonian Romanesque Neighborhood: Pioneer Square
Built By: Year Built: 1890
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
Designed as the Wittler Block by Hetherington, Clements and Company, the Cadillac Hotel was one of only two brick buildings on Jackson Street, when it was being built in 1889, right after the Fire of 1889. Neighboring structures tended to be run-down wooden buildings which housed workingmen’s hotels. When it was first built, it was sited one block from a railroad trestle carrying Northern Pacific trains and freight to Elliott Bay. James Hetherington, like many of his contemporaries who were described as architects, is thought to have begun his career as a skilled carpenter before turning to architectural practice. When the building opened, early main floor businesses included a bar, a drugstore and cheap restaurants and the main tenant was the 56 to 59 room Derig Hotel clocated on the upper floors. By the time of the Klondike Gold Rush and the subsequent economic and industrial growth not only of the former “burnt district,” and of all of Seattle, the building housed prospectors, loggers, shipyard and railway workers, mostly single men. The building is significant not only because it dates from the earliest time of the reconstruction of the “burnt district” right after the Fire of 1889, but also is an example of an early workingman’s hotel, erected slightly outside what was the original heart of Seattle. It took at least another ten years for the area around Jackson Street to be built up with more solid structures. The building exterior has remained relatively intact through the years, except for the loss of a free-standing brick pedimented portion of the parapet, which used to rise at the center of the Second Avenue façade. The brick was also sandblasted in the 1970s. The Nisqually Earthquake damaged the building and it is currently under restoration. The building was restored around 1971. Severely damaged by the Nisqually Earthquake of 2001, the Cadillac Hotel was at the vortex of a fierce debate over its existence. The owners at the time of the Earthquake had bought the building not long before the calamity and sought permission to tear it down, because they found it too expensive to repair. Local and national preservationists, including architects and structural engineers, upon inspecting the building, found that the building was definitely salvageable. In 2002, Historic Seattle stepped in and bought the Cadillac Hotel for $ 2 million. In 2004, restoration was on-going. The basic restoration of the building is scheduled to be complete by the middle of 2005, with further work on some tenant spaces after that.
The three story building dates from right after the Great Fire of 1889. It has exterior walls of red brick. It is distinctive because of its arched window openings and simple decorative brickwork. Engaged brick pilasters mark off vertical bays, while horizontal courses show the separation of floors, exhibiting the grid pattern typical of Victorian buildings found in the district from right after the 1889 Fire.

Detail for 319 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 5247800715 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: NR, LR
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition, Unknown
Building Type: Domestic - Hotel Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Community Planning/Development
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Slight
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Andrews, Mildred et al. Pioneer Square: Seattle's Oldest Neighborhood. Manuscript. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, forthcoming 2005.
Engleman, Eric. “In Depth: Downtown Seattle: Cadillac Renovation moves closer to reality.” Puget Sound Business Journal, 6 October 2003. Database on-line. Available from
Glover, Darrell. “Face Lifting –Hotel to Be Remodeled.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 8 May 1971, p 15.
MacIntosh, Heather. “The Cadillac Hotel, A Brief History.” Historic Seattle Newsletter. n.d. Database on-line. Available from
Mulady, Kathy. “Cadillac Hotel avoids demolition to rise again in Pioneer Square.” Seattle Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 6 July 2004. Database on-line. Available from

Photo collection for 319 2nd AVE / Parcel ID 5247800715 / Inv #

Photo taken Aug 09, 2004
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