AKA: Hoge Block, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Bebb and Mendel, Architects (firm); Seattle Cornice Works (firm); Charles Herbert Bebb ; Louis Leonard Mendel Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1909-1911

18 stories

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705 2nd Avenue
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104-1741

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Building History

The Hoge Building occupied the site of the Carson Boren House, a cedar log cabin located on the northwest corner of Cherry Street and 2nd Avenue, that was the first Euro-American dwelling erected in what would become Seattle's central business district, Pioneer Square. Boren built his shelter in 1852. An historical marker placed on the side of the Hoge Building stated: "Carson D. Boren built here the first cabin home of white men in the city of Seattle in April, 1852. It was made of split cedar puncheons [split logs with smoothed faces]. This tablet was erected by the Washington State Historical Society November 13, 1905." (See Junius Rochester, HistoryLink.org, "Boren, Carson Dobbins (1824-1912)," posted 10/31/1998, accessed 08/14/2017.) Boren lived here until 1855, before building another house on another parcel. In the years after Boren left, the rude shack was demolished and wooden commercial structures replaced it. These remained until the Seattle Fire of 1889, that destroyed them.

Following this, John Hoge (1840-1917) bought the property and erected a three-story brick office and retail building at the Cherry Street and 2nd Avenue intersection. After the fire, city ordinances mandated more fireproof construction means, brick becoming very popular for its low cost and fire-resistance. This three-story building stood until about 1909, when Hoge began construction on a new, high-rise office tower the scale of which Seattle had not seen.

Between 1911-1914, the Hoge Building was the tallest in Seattle, WA, at 18-stories high, when it was surpassed by the 42-story Smith Tower. The Hoge Building #2 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983; the first house of white settlers to Seattle, the Carson D. Boren Cabin, previously stood on this site; Later W.N. Bell purchased this parcel on the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Cherry Street in 1855 and occupied it. William Elder Bailey's Washington Territory Investment Company Building stood here from c. 1890-1909. It was then replaced by the Hoge Building #2 (1909-1911) still standing in 2010. Thompson Starrett Company of New York, NY, served as the building contractors; it was one of the few building contractors of the time that had had considerable experience building steel-frame skyscrapers in excess of 15 stories in 1911.

The Hoge Family controlled this piece of real estate from 1911 until 1986.

Building Notes

The pace of construction was rapid on the Hoge Building. A National Park Service National Register building history for it indicated: "Perhaps the most amazing feat of the entire project was that its innovative steel frame went up with such rapidity that all 18 stories were in place in only 30 days." (See "Hoge Building,"Accessed 03/12/2010.) The essay indicated that the Hoge Building's steel frame had been influenced by findings made after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

Seattle Historic Landmark (1984-09-10): 111889

National Register of Historic Places (April 14, 1983): 83003339 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 3655