AKA: Boston Office Block, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - banks (buildings); built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - commercial buildings - stores

Designers: Boone and Meeker, Architects (firm); Bradlee, Winslow and Wetherell, Architects (firm); William Ely Boone (architect); Nathaniel Jeremiah Bradlee (architect); George Cook Meeker (architect); George Homans Wetherell (architect); Walter T. Winslow (architect)

Dates: constructed 1887-1888, demolished 1921

4 stories

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2nd Avenue and Columbia Street
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104

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Southeast corner of 2nd Avenue and Columbia Street


The Boston Building operated on the southeast corner of 2nd Avenue and Columbia Street. (See Corbett and Company's Seattle City Directory, 1892-1893, p. 99.) Willam Ely Boone (1830-1921), probably early Seattle's most prolific and accomplished designer (save for perhaps Elmer H. Fisher) designed both the Boston Building as well as its neighbor to the south, the New York Building, slightly later. The Boston Building became an important local center for artists and musicians during its existence, between 1888 and 1921.

Building History

Bradlee, Winslow and Wetherell, Architects, of Boston, MA, designed this office building in Seattle, WA, in 1887. Boone and Meeker of Seattle acted as Associated Architects on the project which was completed in the Spring 1888. The Boston Building held sentimental favor with Seattle residents who experienced the traumatic Fire of 1889, which scorched $9 million worth of Pioneer Square buildings on 1st, 2nd and 3rd Avenues, the central business district of the day; all buildings south of it on 2nd Avenue burned, leaving this the only large-scale commercial building to remain.

The Boston Block was torn down shortly after 03/1921, but the bricks making up its walls were salvaged. According to the Seattle Times of 06/19/1921: "The famous old Boston Block, razed not long ago and remembered by all pioneers of the time of the Seattle fire, is not to die for many years yet. That is, 100,000 bricks from this old landmark have been utilized in the construction of a store building on the corner of Broadway and Roy Street by W.V. Swanson, 914 N. 40th St." (See "Real Estate: Building Is Active," Seattle Times, 06/19/1921, p. 64.)

Building Notes

Haley and Wright, Grocers, opened in the Boston Block by about 12/01/1888. (See Haley and Wright advertisement, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11/11/1888, p. 5.) This firm was short-lived (gone by the 1890), but was operated by John Haley and Charles A. Wright. in 1889. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1889, p. 227.)

The Boston National Bank occupied the corner storefront location on the first floor of the Boston Block in 1893 at 722 2nd Avenue. Other retail spaces stood at 720, 716 and 714 2nd. In the middle, an entry at 718 2nd opened into a lobby leading to an elevator and stairway for offices above.

In 1895, the Stillaguamish and Sultan Mining Company operated in Room #2 of the Boston Block. This was an investment company operated by real estate man J.W. Clise (President) and lumberman C.D. Stimson (Vice-president). Additionally, R.E. McCoy was its auditor and Norman B. Clegg its manager. (See Polk's Seattle Directory Seattle City Directory of 1895, p. 720.)

The Seattle Times newspaper rented a first-floor Boston Block storefront c. 1896 and used it as its office and printing plant. In 1904, the Seattle National Bank operated in a first-floor, corner storefront. The Seattle National Bank combined with the Puget Sound National Bank in 1910, and the resultant Seattle National Bank stood for 14 years as the largest in the city. The Seattle National Bank moved from the Boston Block in Other businesses operating here were Burns Atkinson and Company, (Rooms 13-14, an insurance agency, and Henry A. Schroeder, (Room 32), another insurance agency.

According to Lawrence Kreisman and Glenn Mason, the Boston Block housed an artists' collective beginning in 1907. (See Lawrence Kreisman and Glenn Mason, The Arts and Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest, [Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2007] p. 42.)

The influential Clise Investment Company, J.W. Clise, President, occupied Rooms #8 and 9 in the Boston Block from 1894 until 1899. The aligned law firm of Harry R. Clise (also Secretary of the Clise Investment Company) and George H. King occupied space here from 1894 until 1900.

The Maine-born lawyer, Melvin W. Lovejoy (d. 1926) occupied space in the Boston Block for 31 years. (See "M.W. Lovejoy, Pioneer Attorney, Succumbs," Seattle Daily Times, 12/21/1926, p. 23.)


The Seattle First National Bank bought the Boston Block and its site for $350,000 on 04/03/1920. Henry Chapin and associates living in Boston sold the property. The Seattle First National Bank took possession of the property on 03/01/1921, and it demolished the Boston Block soon thereafter. The largest financial institution in the city at the time, Seattle First National Bank erected its headquarters on this site. (See "Boston Block Bought for New Bank Home," Seattle Times, 04/04/1920, p. 1, 12.)

PCAD id: 10572