AKA: Epler Block, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - commercial buildings - stores

Designers: Parkinson and Evers, Architects (firm); Cecil Louis Calvert Evers (architect); John Parkinson (architect)

Dates: constructed 1889-1890, demolished 1923

4 stories

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811 2nd Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98104-1501

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The Epler Building occupied 811-817 2nd Avenue.


The architectural duo of John Parkinson (1861-1935) and Cecil Evers (1866-1936) designed the Epler Block during the rush of construction activity following the Great Fire of 1889. Parkinson and Evers utilized an eclectic array of Romanesque and Italianate stylistic details for the exterior, composed in a more measured and restrained way than the busy Romanesque Eclectic designs of their frenetic contemporary, Elmer H. Fisher.Standing four stories in height, it was commissioned by the Illinois-born real estate dealer William F. Epler (1840-1917) and his brother, politician and lawyer James M. Epler (1837-1920), who both occupied offices on its top floor. Epler was a partner in the real estate firm of Epler, Whitehead and Brown that formerly had offices in the Union Block in 1889. (SeeR.L. Polk and Company's Seattle City Directory, 1889, p. 194.) Following the usual commercial formula for building investments, retail stores generated rents in first floor spaces, while the upper stories earned income from office leases paid by various businesses and professionals.

Building History

According to historian Clarence Bagley, William Franklin Epler (born 02/22/1839 in IL) first visited Seattle, WA, in 1882 and 1883, while still a resident of Jacksonville, IL. (US Census data of 1900, indicated, however, that Epler was born in 07/1840.) Impressed by the financial possibilities in Seattle, he relocated here in 1884. Either just before or after settling here, he purchased a land parcel on Second Avenue. Following the fire of 1889, he erected this brick, four-story office building completed in 1890. In 1905, a collection of professional offices and small businesses were located in the Epler Building. Epler and his wife, Caroline K. Ensminger Epler (born c. 1853 in IL) had one adopted son, Franklin Epler (born c. 1882 in IL). A brother, James Epler, also lived in Seattle, where he maintained a legal practice on the fourth floor of the Epler Building. When the Bank of California sought to expand its office headquarters in Seattle in 1923, it approached the Epler Estate to buy the Epler Block and its land. This was done for a price of approximately $160,000.

Building Notes

In 1905, the Seattle Trunk Factory, Kilbourne and Clark Company, dealers in Electrical Machinery and Supplies, and William B. Haynes Confectionery and Ice Cream Parlor occupied the three first-floor storefronts.

An exterior photo of the Epler Building, located at 811-815 2nd Avenue, is contained in the PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle, image #1983.10.7090.

In 1908, the architect F.H. Perkins had an office in Room #328 of the Epler Block. (See R.L. Polk and Company's Seattle City Directory, 1908, p 1638.)

In 1922, the Woodmen of the World fraternal organization had its office in Room #240 of the Epler Block.


The Epler Building was demolished in 1923 to make room for the Bank of California Office Building #1 (1924).

PCAD id: 6154