AKA: Second Korn Office Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA; Korn Block, 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

3 stories

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119 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104-2525

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Building History

The Korn Building #1 was destroyed in the Great Seattle Fire of 06/06/1889. The prolific Seattle architect Elmer H. Fisher (1844-c. 1905) designed the new building for the property's owner, the heirs of Euro-American pioneer, Charles C. Terry (1830-1867). Fisher has been credited with designing over 50 buildings in Seattle after 1889.

The building's prime first floor commercial space was occupied by the German-born druggist, Moses Korn (1833-1894), and was named for him.

Building Notes

In 1890, the Sunset Telephone and Telegraph Company had its Seattle main office in Room #15 of the Korn Building #2. (In 1893, Sunset occupied Room #17, as well.) William B. Armstrong was the Manager of the office at the time. On 10/16/1893, service began on the second-largest long-distance telephone line between Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, and Spokane, WA. The first longest stretched between New York, NY, and Chicago, IL.) The mayors of Seattle and Spokane were the first to converse using the 750-mile long network. According to historian David Wilma, "The Washington state line was constructed at a cost of $250,000 and was a cooperative venture between the Sunset Telephone and Telegraph Co., the Oregon Telephone and Telegraph Co., and the Inland Telephone and Telegraph Co." (See David Wilma, "Telephone connects Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Spokane beginning on October 16, 1893," HistoryLink.org, 10/16/2003,Accessed 10/16/2012.)

By 2016, the Korn Building had fallen into dilapidated condition.


The parapet line was shorn of much of its original ornamentation, such as its pinnacles, possibly after the Seattle Earthquake of 1949. After this seismic event, many of Pioneer Square's masonry buildings had their rooftop ornamental brickwork and turrets removed. Originally, a pediment flanked by pinnacles graced the building's corner above the parapet. This pediment originally had a finial at its apex.

PCAD id: 4647