AKA: Seattle Post-Intelligencer Building #1, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - corporate headquarters; built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1880-1881, demolished 1889

3 stories

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108 Yesler Way
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104

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In 1882, Yesler Way was then called "Mill Street."


The construction of the Seattle Post's stylish brick building on Mill Street (later renamed Yesler Way) advertised the newspaper's existence beginning in 1881, but imperiled its finances due to its significant cost. In 1881, Seattle's Pioneer Square business district was composed primarily of relatively flimsy and flammable wood-frame buildings, so the new Post Building stood out as something grand and imposing. Notable were the large expanses of plate glass used to front the offices of the second floor.

Building History

The brothers Kirk C. Ward and Mark Ward began a newspaper called the Seattle Post in 1878, launched with the financial support of John Leary (1837-1905) and others. The Post never had a successful financial footing, which was made more precarious by the construction of this costly $130,000 brick headquarters building. At this time in Seattle, c. 1880, many commercial buildings remained relatively crudely styled, two or three-story wood-frame structures. This finely styled Italianate building, in a more permanent brick fabric, demonstrated the city's transition from a frontier outpost to a more refined commercial center. Newspaper headquarters were increasingly seen (by their publishers especially) as civic landmarks, fit for more grandiose and dignified architectural treatments.

To forestall further losses, Leary and other stockholders arranged for the Post to merge with Thomas Prosch's (1850-1915) Seattle Intelligencer in 1881, becoming the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a venerable local product. For eight years, the Post-Intelligencer operated in the former PostBuilding, before it burned on 06/06/1889.

From 1886-1893, educator Leigh Smith James Hunt (1855-1933) was the P-I's President and General Manager. Working with Hunt in 1887 were Stewart E. Smith, Secretary, and Frederick J. Grant, Treasurer. An IN native, Hunt migrated to Seattle from Iowa in 1886, and purchased the P-I and large tracts of real estate on the east side of Lake Washington, including what would become the towns of Hunt's Point and Kirkland. Beginning in the late 1880s, Hunt worked with the English steel mill owner Peter Kirk (1860-1916) to build the "Pittsburgh of the West," a great steel manufacturing center and company town in Kirkland. This dream failed for both men in the Depression of 1893.

Building Notes

In 1882, Blanchard and Company, Wholesale Liquors Dealers, operated in one of the first-floor storefronts, while the Wells, Fargo and Company Bank occupied the other. One second-floor office was leased by the law firm of Struve, Haines and Leary, while the other side’s offices were used by the Post-Intelligencer. Third-floor rooms were also rented to various tenants.

In about 1885, Llewllyn and Company, Real Estate Brokers, occupied space in the Post-Intelligencer Building. The newspaper may have rented space to assist in paying off the debt on the expensive office building. The three-story building's front facade had three bays; a depressed first floor contained two bilaterally symmetrical storefronts. A tall, central stair led up to the second floor, lit by two wide and tall pairs of windows with basket-handle arches. The top story had a fenestration composed of three pairs of thin arched windows, and an ornate cornice. A cartouche with the legend "Post 1881 Building" stood just above the parapet.


The Post-IntelligencerBuilding was destroyed in the Great Seattle Fire of 06/06/1889.

PCAD id: 18193