AKA: Starr - Boyd Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Fisher, Elmer, H., Architect (firm); Elmer Horace Fisher (architect)

Dates: constructed 1889-1890, demolished 1954

4 stories

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1st Avenue and Cherry Street
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104

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The Starr-Boyd Building was located on the west side of Front Street (later renamed 1st Avenue) at Cherry Street.

Building History

This was one of a large number of commissions secured by itinerant architect Elmer Fisher (1844-c. 1905) in 1889, just after the Great Fire in Seattle's Pioneer Square Neighborhood.

In the Seattle City Directory, 1893, it was referred to as the "Starr Block." (See R.L. Polk and Company's Seattle Seattle City Directory, 1893, p. 414.)

Building Notes

Executed in red brick, the Starr-Boyd Building had the arches and robust capitals characteristic of the Richardsonian Romanesque Style. The building had four floors, and a tri-partite front elevation. Retail businesses operated in first floor spaces; upper floors housed offices. The roof line was aggrandized by tall, parapeted eaves on both ends, each wall mass adorned with large corner finials. The central bay featured a large triplet of arched windows (illuminating the third and fourth floors) set beneath a central scalloped parapet bearing the name of the building. In 1890, the Canadian Pacific Railway operated its ticket office in the Starr-Boyd Building.

In 1897, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia had its office in Rooms #31-32 of the Starr-Boyd Building. H.L. Sizer was the General Agent. (See R.L. Polk Company’s Seattle City Directory, 1897, p. 617.)


Following the Earthquake of 04/13/1949, engineers determined the upper portions of the Starr-Boyd Building to be uninhabitable. The upper three floors were removed in 1949. The single story remaining was taken down in 1954. In the late 1950s, this vacant lot was considered for use as a museum space in a renovation competition for Pioneer Square across the street. A remnant of the building still stands next to the south wall of the K and R Building at 625 1st Avenue in Pioneer Square.

PCAD id: 4628