Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Houghton, Edwin W., Architect (firm); Edwin Walker Houghton (architect)

Dates: constructed 1901-1903

4 stories

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1318 1st Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98101

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The Arcade Building #2 was located at 1st Avenue and University Street.


Built in 1901-1903, the mammoth Arcade Building, with its extensions, occupied all of the 2nd Avenue westside street frontage between Union Street and Seneca Street. It stood on the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Seneca Street and southwest corner of 2nd Avenue and University Street.

Building History

The MA-born manufacturer of envelopes, George Herbert Whitcomb (1842-1916) owned the Arcade Building and the Arcade Building Annex. Whitcomb was a frequent financial collaborator with James A. Moore, President of the Moore Investment Company. Whitcomb also provided financial backing on the Whitcomb Building, Amherst Building, Estabrook Building, and Washington Annex Hotel. He sold his interests in the Whitcomb and Washington Annex Hotel by 02./1910. (See "Three Men of Great Wealth Visit Seattle," Seattle Daily Times, 02/25/1910, pp. 1 and 4.) Whitcomb was one of three significant investors living outside Seattle, that also included Lyman Cornelius Smith (1850-1910), President of the L.C. Smith Typewriter Company and the Syracuse National Bank, and John Hoge (1840-1917), President of the American Encaustic Tiling Company of Zanesville, OH, and heavily invested in Seattle's Union Savings and Trust Company, who owned significant real estate in Downtown Seattle. Smith would build the L.C. Smith Tower (1914) and Hoge and his nephew, James D. Hoge, the 18-story Hoge Building #2. Both Smith and Hoge vied with each other to build the tallest skyscraper in the downtown before 1915.

The Seattle Symphony debuted in Christiansen Hall, a concert hall within the Arcade Building on 12/29/1903; in 1905, Shafer Brothers, Outfitters for Men, the Pianola, C.W. Herald and Webster and Stevens, Photographers, rented space in the Arcade Building.

In 1913, the following retail stores occupied space there: Rhodes Department Store; Shafer Brothers; S.P. Charlton and Company, 5-10 and 15 Cent Store; Eggert Shoe Company; Brooks Haberdashers; the Bon Marche Department Store.

A Pearl Electronics Store operated in the Arcade Building in the 1960s.

In 1953, David Whitcomb, Sr., served as the President of the Arcade Building and Realty Company. His son, David Whitcomb, Jr., was the Secretary. Their office was in Room #6130 of the Arcade Building. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1953, p. 68.)

Building Notes

In 08/1905, E.N. Brooks and Company, hatters and men's clothiers, occupied space at 1331 2nd Avenue.

A bowling alley operated in the basement of the Arcade Building in 1905, at 1301 2nd Avenue.

The American Portable House Company leased office space in Room #329 of the Arcade Building in 1910. (See "Portable and Ready-Made Houses" adverstisement, Seattle Times, 08/14/1910, p. 8.)

In 1918, the Argus newspaper had its offices in Rooms #4126-4129 in the Arcade Building. H.A. Chadwick was its publisher in 1918. (See R.L. Polk and Company's Seattle City Directory, 1918, p. 346.)


The Arcade Building had an addition made c. 1913; it was referred to as the "Arcade Building Extension."

The northern end of the Arcade Building was demolished in the mid-1920s to make room for a new Rhodes Department Store #2, located on the southwest corner of Union Street and Second Avenue.


The Arcade Building was razed. The Seattle Art Museum occupied a portion of the site after 1991.

PCAD id: 4492