AKA: Haller Block, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA
Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - commercial buildings - stores
Dates: constructed 1889-1890, demolished 1957
Lawyer George Morris Haller (d. 12/1889) began construction of the Haller Building and then went on a Whidbey Island duck hunting expedition with physician Thomas T. Minor (d. 12/1889), and his 22-year-old brother-in-law, Lewis Cox (d. 12/1889). All three were lost in an accident in Puget Sound. Haller's parents, Granville O. Haller and Henrietta M. Cox, took over construction and completed it at a cost of $60,000 in 09/1890, the office block standing as a memorial to their lost son. (See Jeffrey Karl Ochsner and Dennis Andersen, Distant Corner, [Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003], p. 145.)
Designed by the busy firm of Elmer H. Fisher, Architect, the Haller Block stood on the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Columbia Street. This was one of 33 commissions that the charismatic Fisher received in 1889 alone, following the Great Fire that destroyed 64 blocks of Seattle's central business district, Pioneer Square. No other architect in Seattle history had this many commissions simultaneously, and the strain of running this practice probably contributed to his rapid departure from the city in 1894.
The Norton Building, Seattle's prime example of an early 1950s International Style skyscraper, occupied the land after the Haller Building's demolition.
The Haller Block originally housed a branch of the Bank of British Columbia and retail stores on its first floor, and, on the remaining four floors, 60 offices.
In 1900, H.H. Dearborn and Company occupied Room C in the Haller Building; this concern sold real estate, and specialized at this time in tide lands properties. (At this time, extensive tide lands were being filled in south of Pioneer Square, in what became known as the SODO District. Land fill of all kinds--garbage, excavated dirt, regrade dirt, demolished building materials all were used to fill in the marshy land.) In 1905, the Bank of California occupied a first-floor corner location in the Haller Block.
In 1909, Theodore N. Haller (d. 02/17/1930), a lawyer and brother of George Morris, and R.S. Cox operated their real estate and loans firm at 33-34 Haller Block; six years later, Haller operated an investment company, without Cox, at 34 Haller Building. Haller Lake, north of Seattle, was named for Theodore Haller.
PCAD id: 6177