AKA: Hoge Block, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Bebb and Mendel, Architects (firm); Seattle Cornice Works (firm); Charles Herbert Bebb ; Louis Leonard Mendel Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1909-1911

18 stories

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705 2nd Avenue
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104-1741

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The Hoge Building #2 was conceived and completed during a wave of civic boosterism in WA State occurring during and just after the completion of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909. Its builder, John Hoge, vied with the owners of Tacoma's National Realty Building (built at the same time) and the Smith Family's Seattle tower to erect the tallest structure in the Pacific Northwest. At approximately 205 feet tall, the Hoge Building #2 remained Seattle's tallest building only until 1914, when the 42-story Smith Tower topped out. Like the National Realty Building, the Hoge Building #2 had a steel frame to resist earthquakes, a necessity in the wake of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire.

Building History

The Hoge Building occupied the site of the Carson Boren House, a cedar log cabin located on the northwest corner of Cherry Street and 2nd Avenue, that was the first Euro-American dwelling erected in what would become Seattle's central business district, Pioneer Square. Boren built his shelter in 1852. An historical marker placed on the side of the Hoge Building stated: "Carson D. Boren built here the first cabin home of white men in the city of Seattle in April, 1852. It was made of split cedar puncheons [split logs with smoothed faces]. This tablet was erected by the Washington State Historical Society November 13, 1905." (See Junius Rochester, HistoryLink.org, "Boren, Carson Dobbins (1824-1912)," posted 10/31/1998, accessed 08/14/2017.) Boren lived here until 1855, before building another house on another parcel. In the years after Boren left, the rude shack was demolished and wooden commercial structures replaced it. These remained until the Seattle Fire of 1889, that destroyed them.

Ohioan John Hoge (1840-1917) bought the former Boren property in 1904. Hoge had made a fortune expanding the business of Schultz and Company, a Zanesville-based soap manufacturer. Hoge had a genius for business and marketing and built the company into an industry leader by the last quarter of the nineteenth century. He sold his interests in Schultz and Company's soap business to Proctor and Gamble in 1903.

John Hoge first began to visit Seattle in the 1890s visiting his nephew James Doster Hoge, Jr., (1871-1929). An 1895 society page note in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer read: “Mr. John Hoge, who has been the guest of his nephew, Mr. James D. Hoge, Jr., for a few days, returned to his home in Ohio during the past week.” (See “Personal and Society Notes,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 08/04/1895, p. 9.) James D. Hoge, Jr., was a banker and real estate investor who assisted his uncle in spotting financial opportunities out west. James Hoge came to Seattle from Zanesville in 1890, and would become a wealthy and highly-connected businessman. He owned the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper for a short time between 1894 and 1899 and became Chairman of the Board of the First Seattle-Dexter Horton National Bank, the largest bank in the Pacific Northwest, and a founder of the Union Trust and Savings Bank, established in 1903 in Seattle.

Hoge bought the former Boren property and erected a three-story brick office and retail building at the Cherry Street and 2nd Avenue intersection. After the fire, city ordinances mandated more fireproof construction means, brick becoming very popular for its low cost and fire-resistance. This three-story building stood until about 1909, when Hoge began construction on a new, high-rise office tower the scale of which Seattle had not seen.

Between 1911-1914, the Hoge Building was the tallest in Seattle, WA, at 18-stories high, when it was surpassed by the 42-story Smith Tower. The Hoge Building #2 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983; the first house of white settlers to Seattle, the Carson D. Boren Cabin, previously stood on this site. Later, W.N. Bell purchased this parcel on the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Cherry Street in 1855 and occupied it. William Elder Bailey's Washington Territory Investment Company Building stood here from c. 1890-1909.

It was then replaced by the Hoge Building #2 (1909-1911) in 1909. Thompson Starrett Company of New York, NY, served as the building contractors. It was one of the few building contractors in 1911 that had had considerable experience building steel-frame skyscrapers in excess of 15 stories. Thompson Starrett erected the Hoge Building #2's steel frame very rapidly. Beginning construction in 03/1911, the 18-story frame was erected in a month.

The Hoge Family controlled this piece of real estate from 1911 until 1986.

Building Notes

The pace of construction was rapid on the Hoge Building. A National Park Service National Register building history for it indicated: "Perhaps the most amazing feat of the entire project was that its innovative steel frame went up with such rapidity that all 18 stories were in place in only 30 days." (See "Hoge Building," accessed 03/12/2010.) The essay indicated that the Hoge Building's steel frame had been influenced by findings made after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

The stock and bond trading firm of Bond, Goodwin and Tucker maintained its offices in the Hoge Building in 1927. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1927, p. 1005.) Two years later, Bond, Goodwin and Tucker would merge with the San Francisco brokerage of Hunter, Dulin and Company. (See "Investment Houses Merged on Coast; Hunter, Dulin & Co. and Bond & Goodwin & Tucker Plan No Changes in Management," New York Times, 07/14/1929, section N, p. 14.)

The skyscraper was named for James D. Hoge, Jr. His bank, the Union Trust and Savings Bank, formed in 1903, became a first-floor occupant of the Hoge Building #2.

In 1916, the prominent Seattle real estate firm of Henry Broderick, Incorporated, had its offices in the Hoge Building. (See Henry Broderick, Incorporated, advertisement, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 09/20/1916, p. 16.)

Seattle Historic Landmark (1984-09-10): 111889

National Register of Historic Places (Listed 1983-04-14): 83003339 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 3655