AKA: California Building, Downtown, Tacoma, WA; California Block, Downtown, Tacoma, WA

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

Designers: Lillis and Goss Construction Company (firm); Williams and Smith, Architects (firm); Arthur L. Smith (architect); David Lochhead Williams (architect); Franklin Williams

Dates: constructed 1890, demolished 1931

5 stories

1110 Pacific Avenue
Downtown, Tacoma, WA 98402

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The Wilson Block also had an alternate street address of 1109-1015 Commerce Street.


The Wilson Building, known during the 1890s through the 1910s as the "California Building," operated in Downtown Tacoma, WA, housed retail businesses and offices between 1890 and 1931.

Building History

David Wilson commissioned the Portland architectural firm fo Williams and Williams to design this five-story office and retail block. Unfortunately, the lead architect of the firm, Warren Heywood Williams, died in 1888, and it remained for his successors to complete supervision of the business block. The successors included Warren's son David Lochhead Williams (1866-1937), his brother Franklin Williams, (), and architect Arthur L. Smith (). Williams, Williams and Smith completed this building as well as the Robert Dunsmuir House (Craigdarroch Castle) in Victoria, BC.

Building Notes

As noted in the Tacoma-Pierce County Buildings Index, early tenants of the Wilson Building included Havelock C. Boyle and Company, Saint John’s Pharmacy, Dege and Milner Clothing Company, and the W.C. Bell and Sons Clothing Store.

The US Post Office operated a large facility in the California Block in 1892. John D. Hogue served as the Postmaster. Its location was given as the west side of Pacific Avenue and east side of Railroad Avenue near South 11th Street. (See R.L. Polk and Company's Tacoma, Washington, City Directory, 1892, p. 590.)

Architect C.A. Darmer (1858-1952) occupied Office #417-418 in the California Building in 1900.

In 1919, H.B. Ritz and Company, dealers in real estate, occupied Room #523 in the California Building. (See R.L. Polk and Company’s Tacoma, Washington, City Directory, 1919, p. 166.)

PCAD id: 17555