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

Designers: Boone and Corner, Architects (firm); Morgan, Reid, Architect (firm); Payette Construction Company (firm); William Ely Boone (architect); James Milbourne Corner (architect); Reid A. Morgan Jr. (architect); Payette (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 1902-1903

4 stories

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1300 2nd Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98101

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The Walker Building stood on the northeast corner of 2nd Avenue and University Street at 1300-1310 2nd Avenue.


Maine-born lumberman Cyrus Walker became the Superintendent of the Puget Mill's Port Gamble operation in 1862, and directed operations there until 1888. He became a valued employee and gradually a partner in the Port Gamble mills operated by San Franciscans Andrew Jackson Pope and W.C. Talbot. Walker enjoyed a sterling reputation for fairness and honesty among workers. He also became quite wealthy, enabling him to erect at least three buildings in Seattle's Pioneer Square and Downtown neighborhoods. They included the Marshall - Walker Building (1890) at 308-310 1st Avenue South, the Walker Building (1899) on the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Spring Street (1101 2nd Avenue) and this Walker Building (1903) at 2nd Avenue and University Street.

Building History

Cyrus Walker (1827-1913), an executive with the Puget Mill Company of Port Gamble, WA, and Port Ludlow, WA, built this commercial investment property in 1903. This section of 2nd Avenue between University and Seneca Streets was owned by Amos Brown, who also made substantial money in the lumber business. Nearby to the Cyrus Walker Building was the Lumber Exchange Building.

In 1903, the newspaper the Seattle Mail and Herald described the new Walker Building: "In size it is 108x120 feet, four stories high, containing ninety-three offices and four stores. The exterior of the building is dressed in Chuckanut stone. The interior is finished in native fir; the corridors are of maple and the walls of the corridors are sand-plastered. Throughout, the building contains all the latest improvements, including a good elevator service. The rooms are well lighted. The store rooms are light and conveniently arranged. The plans of the building were furnished by the architects Boone & Corner. The building itself is of Italian design and was constructed at a cost of $120,000." (See "The New Walker Building," Seattle Mail and Herald, vol. VI, no. 27, 05/16/1903, p. 1.)

A Seattle Times story of 1941 indicated that the Marshall-Walker Building in Pioneer Square had been sold by its owner, the University of Washington, to Charles Miller of the Seattle Quilt Manufacturing Company. It disambiguated the Marshall-Walker Building from this Walker Building: "The building bears the saem name as the later-built Walker Building at Second Avenue and University Street, but no connection in ownership of the two has existed since Mr. Walker's death. The central business district building is now owned by the Walker estate." (See "Manufacturer Buys Building," Seattle Times, 02/16/1941, p. 30.)

Building Notes

This four-story building, composed of brick and cut Chuckanut stone, was erected for the lumberman, Cyrus Walker. It stood across the street from the Arcade Building #2, a landmark known for its many retail stores. In 1945, the Puget Mill Division of Pope and Talbot, Incorporated, had its offices in the Walker Building. Puget Mill was the real estate section of the timber giant, selling lots, brokerage services and insurance. Puget Mill was an active player in the real estate scene of mid-century Seattle, WA.

The Walker Building occupied an uneven site with the land sloping up from 2nd Avenue toward 3rd, so that the western part of the bullding had four full stories, while the eastern edge had three. It had a U-shape, with the open end facing south toward University Street. The central light court opened to illuminate offices on the second through fourth floors. Four store fronts composed the first floor frontage on 2nd Avenue, two located on either side of the a central lobby and stair hall.

In about 1906, the John J. Wittwer, Hair Goods; store and the Gailey Supply Company occupied space in the Walker Block. The Walker Building had storefront addresses at 1300, 1304, 1306, 1308 and 1310 2nd Avenue. It was also numbered 108 University Street in 1912. (See Baist's Real Estate Atlas of Surveys of Seattle, Wash. Complete in One Volume, [Philadelphia: George William Baist, 1912], map #3R.)


The Walker Building was sold to new owners in 1968, who embarked on a renovation plan soon thereafter. Polly Lane, Seattle Times real estate columnist, described the renovation as it happened in 1970: "John Radovich, Seattle realtor, is managing partner for the Second & University Building Co. which bought the four-story building for $400,000 in July 1968. Since February, 1969, the company has spent $90,000 improving lighting, paneling walls, installing new doors, refurbishing but not changing the restrooms, redoing the elevator interior, lowering the ceilings and improving the entrances. The Payette Construction Co. is designer-builder. Reid Morgan, architect, designed the changes for the entry from University Street. One of the delights in redoing the building, has been the uncovering of the original brick on the exterior walls. Plaster has been removed from some of it and complemented with lower ceiings, new lighting and paneled walls. The space has much appeal. The building's exterior will get new paint on the fascia overhang and on the window sashes. Existing windows are being retained. The building has two open stairways, one with stone steps and wrought-iron railing that probably were original in the structure. The other has wooden balustrades. Most of the existing restroom fixtures were cleaned and saved. The old rust-colored tile floors and marble are especially attractive. Shutters have been added over the painted glass in the windows and wallpaper added to the walls about the marble sinks. Radiators (the building is steam heated are being enclosed by bookcases or storage cabinets. Work completed so far is mainly in offices on the third floor, some on the second floor, and in the hallways on the second and third floors. Ground floor tenants also are realigning space and some of them are redoing their quarters. So far, Radovich has attraced 13 new tenants. Although there is no shortage of office space here, presently, it would seem that refurbished space in older buildings in good locations, like the Walker Building, will hold its own." Lane also noted how Radovich planned to air-condition the building's fourth floor that had 15-foot ceilings and ample window space. (See Polly Lane, "Old buildings still appeal as offices," Seattle Times, 08/30/1970, p. D2.)


The Walker Building was removed in the late 1980s. Developers planned to erect a 60-story office highrise on the site, but the economy soured for Class A office space. Historian Paul Dorpat recalled in 2004: "Readers who know their downtown will remember what a strange corner this was is in the few years between the razing of the Walker and the raising of Benaroya. Plans for a 60-floor scraper, as part of a proposed Marathon Block, were abandoned because of the massive overbuilding of office space at the time. In its place a wide sward was planted, and near its green center a temporary entrance to the bus tunnel resembled an opening to a civil-defense bunker." (See Paul Dorpat, "Now & Then: Attuned to the Times," Seattle Times Magazine, 08/22/2004, p. 30.)

Its site was later occupied by the Seattle Symphony Concert Hall. In 2004, Dorpat also noted how an earlier concert hall, Christiansen Hall, opened the same year as the Walker Building, 1903, across 2nd Avenue. Christiansen Hall was located inside the block-long Arcade Building. (See Paul Dorpat, "Now & Then: Attuned to the Times," Seattle Times Magazine, 08/22/2004, p. 30.)