AKA: Hotel Kalmar, First Hill, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses - apartment houses; built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1881

4 stories

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6th Avenue and James Street
First Hill, Seattle, WA

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Southeast corner of 6th Avenue and James Street.


When Interstate 5 was being cut through Downtown Seattle, a large number of buildings, residential, commercial and institutional, had to be demolished to make way for the highway. One of the most talked-about demolitions of the time was the Hotel Kalmar, made famous by the historic preservation-minded architect, Victor Steinbrueck.

Building History

Husband and wife, August and Anna Brand, bought the hotel, erected in 1881, in 1903. The hotel remained under family ownership until its demolition in 1962.

Seattle architect Victor Steinbrueck (1911-1985) called attention to this pioneer hotel's impending demolition in Argus newspaper articles on 03/11/1960 and 04/13/1962. A number of architects, such as Steinbrueck and Paul Thiry (1904-1993), regretted the mass demolition of buildings in First Hill and other Seattle neighborhoods and focused on the Hotel Kalmar as an example of unnecessary destruction.

Building Notes

Built as the Western Hotel and renamed (and better known as) the Hotel Kalmar was a wood-frame, four-story rooming house that had covered balconies wrapping around its first two stories. Its eaves was supported by Italianate brackets.


Demolished; the Hotel Kalmar was torn down in 04/1962 to make way for the new U.S. Interstate 5 route through the heart of Seattle, WA.

PCAD id: 14038