AKA: Great Western Federal Savings and Loan Company Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Lawton George Willis, Architect (firm); George Willis Lawton (architect)

Dates: constructed 1903, demolished 1984

7 stories

4th Avenue and Pike Street
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98101

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Northwest corner of Pike Street and 4th Avenue


In 1893, the Bigelow Building operated at 224 Pike Street. (See Corbett and Company's Seattle City Directory, 1892-1893, p. 99.)

Building History

An exterior photo of the Bigelow Building is located in the PEMCO Webster & Stevens Collection at the Museum of History & Industry, Seattle (MOHAI); in this photo, a sign on the building's exterior read: "Erected by the Bigelow Inv. Co. 1903" In the 1960s-1970s, this seven-story office building housed the Great Western Savings and Loan main Seattle branch.

Building Notes

The Bigelow Building later occupied the lot on the northwest corner of 4th Avenue and Pike Street where the Harold A. Bigelow House stood c. 1882. Michael Houser, in his online biography of architect William P. White's career, indicated that White designed a Bigelow Building in 1906. It is not clear whether Houser meant this building or another for someone else named Bigelow.


The Bigelow Building/Great Western Building along with the neighboring 7-story Harper Building (3rd Avenue and Pike Street) and the Colonial Theatre (1515 4th Avenue) were torn down to make way for this $90-million mixed office/retail Century Square Building (1985). The Harper and Bigelow Buildings were dynamited on the morning of Sunday, 05/13/1984. A Seattle Post-Intelligencer article summarized the demolition process: "Yesterday's sudden demolition was accomplished by drilling 475 holes in some 50 supporting columns of the buildings, filling the holes with dynamite sticks, and touching off the explosives in a timed series of blasts with inner columns being blasted first. The structures then fell inward into one pile, rather than exploding outward over surrounding areas." (See John O'Ryan, "Ten seconds flat! 2 buildings KO'd," Seattle Post Intelligencer, 05/14/1984, p. A3.) According to the contractor responsible for Century Square, Sellen Construction, demolishing high-rise buildings with dynamite was not cheaper but was significantly safer than using wrecking balls.

PCAD id: 4496