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Summary for 1519 ALASKAN WAY / Parcel ID 7666207695 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Pacific Steamship Company Common Name: 1519 Alaskan Way S
Style: Other, Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Duwamish
Built By: Year Built: 1925
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).


This somewhat rugged, but striking building is now part of Pier 36. The entire area of Pier 36, the former Seattle Port of Embarkation, is located on Alaskan Way, at the foot of South Atlantic Street. The area was created on tideflats, slightly more than one hundred years ago, from dirt obtained from a variety of regrade projects, administered by City Engineer Reginald H. Thomson. The Centennial Flour Mill and the Moran Brothers shipyard, followed by the Skinner & Eddy Shipyard, and then the Pacific Coast Steamship Company, successively occupied what later became Pier 36.

This building’s original address was 1519 Railroad Avenue.  It was built in 1925 for the Pacific Steamship Company. The contractors were Albertson, Cornell and Walsh. Although windows have been altered and some ground level openings have been filled in, overall, the building has retained a good degree of integrity.

In 1924, the Pacific Steamship Company purchased the site of the former Skinner & Eddy Plant No.2, a twenty-five acre tract, with the intention of building a new shipping terminus. Aside from this office building, the site was to include three large piers, as well as warehouses. The Seattle of Chamber of Commerce also foresaw the creation of related wholesale district in the vicinity of the new complex, but this did not happen. Despite economic ups and downs and the gradual demise of steamship companies, the Pacific Steamship Company endured and remained at this site until 1940. In that year, the property was sold to the U. S. Government, to be used by the U. S. Army. The building now serves as the U. S. Coast Guard office building.

The Pacific Coast Steamship Company, initially founded during the 1870s, operated between several West Coast cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, Seattle -  and Alaska. Moving its base of operations from Portland to Seattle during the late 1890s, the company thrived during the Klondike Gold Rush, (begun in 1897). In Seattle, the Pacific Coast Steamship Company vessels operated from piers, located between Washington and Jackson Streets. In 1916, the Pacific Coast Steamship Company joined with Pacific Alaska Navigation to become the Pacific Steamship Company.

Additional Sources

Paul Dorpat, “Pier 36 ---Seattle Waterfront,” Essay 4149,

www.HistoryLink.Org, accessed July 2010.

F. K. Lentz, “Pier 36, Alaskan Way South,” Seattle Inventory Field Form, 1979, Washington State Deparment of Archeology and Historic Preservation Website, <>, accessed July 2010.

Mimi Sheridan,  “1519 Alaskan Way South,” Survey Form (and photos), 2003, Washington State Deparment of Archeology and Historic Preservation Website, <>, accessed July 2010



Mainly four stories in height, this building has exterior concrete walls. Its main façade along Alaskan Way South has a symmetrical composition. It is divided into five bays, with a central “tower,” which rises to five stories. Five-story engaged piers mark the edges of the central bay. The central bay also has an arched entry at the ground level topped by three separate oblong window openings with concrete sills at the third and fourth levels. The fifth level of the central bay is marked by three rectangular openings inset within three arched openings. There is also a balcony at this level.  Engaged concrete pilasters help to delineate the flanking bays. While there are no openings at the ground level of these side bays, above the ground level, each bay at each floor consists of three rectangular window openings with concrete sills.

The north elevation, which is also clearly visible from Alaskan Way, is divided into six similar bays above the ground level. At the ground level, there is a projecting one-story platform with a large open service entry on the north side, as well as two exterior staircases.

Detail for 1519 ALASKAN WAY / Parcel ID 7666207695 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status: INV
Cladding(s): Concrete, Stone - Cast Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Transportation - Water- Related Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Commerce, Manufacturing/Industry, Politics/Government/Law, Transportation
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Original Cladding: Slight
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Dorpat, Paul. Seattle Waterfront: An Illustrated History. Seattle, June 2005.

Photo collection for 1519 ALASKAN WAY / Parcel ID 7666207695 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Apr 11, 2010
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