AKA: Bank of Commerce Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA; Scandinavian American Bank, Headquarters Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - banks (buildings)

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

Dates: constructed 1890-1891

2 stories

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95 Yesler Way
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104

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The National Bank of Commerce Building occupied 95-99 Yesler Way.


The National Bank of Commerce was founded in 1889, the year of the Great Fire in Seattle, that wiped out Pioneer Square, the city's central business district.

Building History

The enigmatic architect Elmer Fisher (c. 1844-1905) designed this diminutive, Richardsonian Romanesque pile to accommodate the National Bank of Commerce; Fisher had many commissions after the Great Fire of 1889, and, most notably, designed the Pioneer Building located across the street. Richard Holyoke (1836–1905) was the President of the National Bank of Commerce in 1890. Martin D. Ballard was the Vice-President, and Robert R. Spencer, the Cashier. The National Bank of Commerce would develop into the Rainier Bank during the 20th century.

In 1904, the Scandinavian American Bank occupied this small Richardsonian Romanesque building. After the Scandinavian American Bank collapsed financially in the 1920s, a Bartells Drug Store occupied the corner location at 95-99 Yesler Way. (The Seattle City Directory of 1925, p. 1232, indicated that the Scandinavian American Bank was in liquidation, and that it had a temporary office (Room #426) in the Railway Exchange Building.)

Building Notes

The National Bank of Commerce Building was surrounded on two sides by the L-shaped Schwabacher Building #6 that occupied street frontage on 1st Avenue South and Yesler Way.


An extra story was added to the first two rusticated stone floors between 1904 and the1920s. It appears that the third floor cornice was replaced; perhaps it was removed or fell during one of the major Seattle Earthquakes in 1949, 1965 or thereafter.

PCAD id: 4659