Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

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

Dates: constructed 1889-1891, demolished 1971

6 stories

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901 2nd Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98174-1005

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The Burke Building stood on the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Marion Street at 901-909 2nd Avenue.


The Burke Building occupied the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Marion Street, and was one of over a dozen buildings designed by the charismatic vagabond architect Elmer H. FIsher in Seattle following the Fire of 1889. Like the Pioneer Building designed at about the same time, the Burke Building had six stories, with retail spaces on the first floor and offices above. The designs of the elevations also related to each other, with each having very similar facade compositions with five bays and a rounded corner bay. Each had a central bay that rose above the parapet lines of the others within which was contained a main entryway trimmed in rusticated stone.

Building History

Following the Great Seattle Fire of 06/06/1889, the architect Elmer H. Fisher (1844-1905) received a flood of commissions for new commercial buildings. Fisher was the most popular of all architects working in the city, judging from the volume of his projects. The Burke Building was for an influential client, Judge Thomas Burke (1849-1925), had a large scale, and was prominently located, making it one of Fisher's most important jobs. In 1914, Burke's business office occupied Room 408. This area of 2nd Avenue would become the retail center of the city during the first decades of the twentieth century.

Building Notes

McLeod and Company, a fabric and clothing store, moved from the Burke Building in 03/1900 to a new location at 711 2nd Avenue. (See McLeod and Company advertisement, Seattle Times, 03/13/1900, p. 8.)

The D.S. Johnston Company sold Chickering and other pianos in a storefront at 903 2nd Avenue in 1905. (This had formerly been the showroom of Winter and Harper, piano merchants, who sold out to D.S. Johnston in 1897. See "The End Came with the Year's Close," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 01/01/1914, p. 3.) In 1905, by far the Burke Building's largest tenant was the Great Northern Railway; its Claim and Legal Department had the most space in Rooms #416-418-420; the Engineering Department, had Room #303; Industrial Agent, Room #405, Right of Way and Tax Department Room #614, Traffic Department, Room #502, and Managerial Offices, Room #404. In 1915, the Burnett Brothers Jewelry Store occupied the storefront at 909 2nd Avenue in the Burke Building and the Turrell Shoe Company at 903 2nd Avenue. (See Burnett Brothers and Turrell Shoe Company advertisements, Seattle Times, 12/03/1915, p. 9.)


The Burke Block was demolished in early 1971; the entryway arch from the Burke Building facade was preserved in front of the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in Downtown, Seattle, WA, which replaced it.

PCAD id: 4656