Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - stores

Designers: Thomas, Harlan, Architect (firm); Irving Harlan Thomas (architect)

Dates: [unspecified]

7 stories

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1336 2nd Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA

Building History

The Seattle architect Harlan Thomas (1870-1953) designed the Estabrook Building #2 on 2nd Avenue between Union and Universtiy Streets in the early 1920s. The Seattle Times reported on two new high-rise buildings being planned in October 1922: "Announcement of two more modern business blocks for Seattle to cost approximately $700,000, were made Saturday by the prospective builders. One of the two new construction enterprises is to be a seven-story department store block at Second Avenue and Union Street, occupying the site of the present three-story Estabrook block and replacing that building. The other building is to be a six-story bachelor apartment hotel to be erected on the northeast corner of Seventh Avenue and Olive Street. The new Estabrook Block will cost between $500,000 and $600,000 and the Bachelor Apartment Hotel $175,000. The first is to be erected by David Whitcomb, president, and Col. Albert H. Beeby of the Arcade Building and Realty Company, owners of the Second Avenue property." (See "$700,000 City Building Projects Announced; Seven Story Department Store Block Planned," Seattle Times, 10/01/1922, p. 10.)

This article went on to detail the Estabrook Building's novel organizational plan and intensive use of elevators: "An entirely new idea in the housing of retail trade has been developed by the Arcade organization as affecting the new Estabrook structure, embodying features of design to meet the requirements of the heavy and increasing traffic at Second Avenue and Union Street. The end of 1923 is set for the completion of the structure. The Estabrook Building in its new form will be virtually a department store made up of a number of tenants whose space not only includes frontage on Second Avenue but also whatever adequate space may be needed on the upper floors, each location being provided with private elevator facilities to the connecting space above. In this way occupants of the building can have extended displays on the street floor, with special departments and display rooms above. In this way occupants will have all the advantage of space facing what is regarded as the heaviest traffic in Seattle without the attendant high cost of extended frontage on the avenue. This feature, says a statement issued by the Arcade Building & Realty Company, is regarded as the most scientific effort to adapt the problem of adequate space to meet the requirements of congested traffic. A dozen large institutions may thus be accommodated at greater advantage than half that number under former conditions." (See "$700,000 City Building Projects Announced; Seven Story Department Store Block Planned," Seattle Times, 10/01/1922, p. 10.)

Harlan Thomas and the owners of the Estabrook property, Whitcomb and Beeby, traveled traveled to "twenty or more eastern cities" to research "building conditions with relation to traffic." At this time, the area near 2nd Avenue and Union Street was bustling as it was becoming the city's financial center. Whitcomb stated: "We foresee a continual increas in traffic at Second and Union because the financial and office building district is well established on Second Avenue, while Union Street provides the easy grade that traffic needs as a connecting link between the metropolitan and eastern districts." (See "$700,000 City Building Projects Announced; Seven Story Department Store Block Planned," Seattle Times, 10/01/1922, p. 10.) According to this article, At least two tenants of the Estabrook Building #1, the the Eastern Outfitting Company and Baxter and Baxter, expressed interest in remaining in the new block.

PCAD id: 23302