AKA: Teale-Hills Furniture and Carpet Company, Store, Downtown, Seattle, WA; Grote-Rankin Company, Department Store #1, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - department stores

Designers: Beattie and Cannon, Building Contractors (firm); Moore Investment Company (firm); Saunders and Lawton, Architects (firm); Charles H. Beattie (building contractor); John L. Cannon (building contractor); George Willis Lawton (architect); James A. Moore (developer); Charles Willard Saunders (architect)

Dates: constructed 1900-1901

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1401 2nd Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98101

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The Whitcomb Building stood at 1401-1411 2nd Avenue in Seattle, on the northwest corner of 2nd and Union Street.

Building History

James A. Moore (1861-1929) and his Moore Investment Company partnered with the MA-born envelope king, George Henry Whitcomb (1842-1916), to provide the funding to erect this office and retail building at 2nd Avenue and Union Street in 1900-1901. The building was standing by at least 03/1901. Whitcomb backed Moore financially in a number of real estate and electric railroad deals. (See, for example,"Another Electric Line," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 04/23/1901, p. 5. The electric rail line mentioned in this article was backed by Moore, Whitcomb and another Seattle resident, Alver Robinson, and was to run from Columbia Street and Western Avenue to 18th Avenue North to serve an unplatted residential tract owned by the Moore Investment Company.) Whitcomb had extensive properties in Seattle, having an original financial interest in at least six buildings in the city, including the Whitcomb, Estabrook, Amherst, Arcade, Arcade Annex and Washington Annex Hotel. (He also had extensive real estate interests in Pueblo, CO. See "Whitcomb, George Henry," Who's Who in New England, Albert Nelson Marquis, ed., [Chicago: A.N. Marquis and Company, Publishers, 1909], p. 1000.)) His son, David Whitcomb (1879-1966), was sent to Seattle to supervise and manage these financial investments. (See Tracy Tallman, HistoryLink.org, "Woodway--Thumbnail History," published 04/07/2008, accessed 07/22/2019. For more on Whitcomb, see also "Three Men of Great Wealth Visit Seattle," Seattle Daily Times, 02/25/1910, pp. 1 and 4.)

The initial architect of the tirst floor of the Whitcomb Building is unknown, but could have been Saunders and Lawton, architects of the addition of 1903. The building contractors were Beattie and Cannon.

Before 09/1903, two stores had already occupied space in the one-story phase of the whitcomb Building: those of W.B. Hutchinson Company and Max Ragley. After 02/1904, the Teale-Hills Furniture and Carpet Company was set to occupy two-and-a-half stores of first-floor retail space in the heightend, four-story building, with smaller amounts used by Hutchinson and Ragley. (See "Whitcomb Building as It Will Appear When Occupied by the Teall-Hills Furniture and Carpet Company," Seattle Sunday Times, 09/27/1903, p. 21.)

By 1909, or so, the Grote-Rankin Furniture Company purchased the building from Whitcomb. It operated in this space for about two years, before it moved to a new location at 510 Pike Street.

Building Notes

The Grote-Rankin Department Store operated at 1403-1411 2nd Avenue c. 06/1908 (the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Union Street).

This site was later occupied by a Target Department Store (and before that a shopping mall) that occupied the first floor of the Newmark Tower, completed in 1991.


Architects Saunders and Lawton designed a $45,000 addition of three more stories on the Whitcomb Building in 1904. (See "Seattle's Rapid Growth in Building, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 01/03/1904, p. 40.) The construction of the three story addition went on between 09/2003 and 02/1904. (See "Whitcomb Building as It Will Appear When Occupied by the Teall-Hills Furniture and Carpet Company," Seattle Sunday Times, 09/27/1903, p. 21.)


Historian David Kurlander has said of the Whitcomb Building: "In 1911 the building was demolished and replaced with a seven story structure which was part of an expanded Bon Marche that expanded from Union to Pike on 2nd Avenue." (Thank you to David Kurlander, who furnished a great deal of the information located on the Whitcomb Building. See email from David Kurlander to the author, 07/21/2019.)

PCAD id: 16751