Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - department stores

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1897-1897

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Department store owners Donald E. Frederick and Nels B. Nelson took on Silas Munro as a partner in 1893, the year of a great decline in financial markets. At this time of financial retrenchment, the three men returned their store to its second location 1213-1223 2nd Avenue in 1893 from its third store at 208-210 Pike Street. They stayed at 1213-1223 2nd Avenue from 1893-1897. The remodeled 1213-1223 2nd Avenue site was expanded by incorporating more storefronts to house the firm's burgeoning inventory. In 1897, Frederick, Nelson and Munro relocated to their fourth space, the two center stores of the new Rialto Building. To accommodate shoppers and allow expansion on multiple floors, the retailers installed new, hydraulic elevators in their Rialto space. Growth here was steady, necessitating the gradual acquisition of additional store frontage in the Rialto as well as neighboring buildings. At one time, skybridges linked the nearby stores with the Rialto main store. Frederick and Nelson were eager for growth to continue, but the third partner, Munro, was more hesitant to take new risks. Frederick and Nelson bought his share in the partnership in 1900. By the mid-1910s, expansion was again required, but space around the Rialto Block had been filled. Donald Frederick, the sole partner following Nelson's death at sea in 1907, scouted out locations for a site where the retailer could plan a new, comprehensive kind of shopping/entertainment/cultural experience. Against the advice of many, Frederick selected a site well away from the current retail center of Seattle on 2nd Avenue, buying property at the then far-flung site of 5th Avenue and Pine Street.

PCAD id: 18037