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.
Paul Dorpat, “Pier 36 ---Seattle Waterfront,” 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, <https:fortress.wa.gov/dahp/wisaard>, accessed July 2010.
Mimi Sheridan, “1519 Alaskan Way South,” Survey Form (and
photos), 2003, Washington State Deparment of Archeology and Historic
Preservation Website, <https:fortress.wa.gov/dahp/wisaard>, accessed July