AKA: Seattle City Club, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA; City Club, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - restaurants; built works - recreation areas and structures

Designers: Breitung, C. Alfred, Architect (firm); Heins and La Farge, Architects (firm); Somervell and Cote, Architects (firm); Conradin Alfred Breitung (architect); Joseph Simon Cote (architect); George Lewis Heins (architect); Christopher Grant La Farge (architect); Woodruff Marbury Somervell (architect)

Dates: constructed 1897

3 stories

112 1st Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98104-2502

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This three-story commercial building was erected in two stages between 1897 and 1905. It housed the Olympus Cafe initially, and later became two men's clubs, the Seattle City Club and the City Club.

Building History

German immigrant Conradin Breitung (born 1868) designed the first one-story portion of the building completed in 1897 for the Olympus Café. The cafe increased its size in 1905.

The City of Seattle's Department of Neighborhoods historical database said of this building: "The original structure was one story and dated from 1897. It housed the Olympus Café, an elegant restaurant from 1897 to 1915. The top two floors were added in 1905 to accommodate a much larger Olympus Café, including the classically designed Venetian Room, the German Room, the Blue Room and the Lumberman’s Club, which took up the whole of the top floor. The Seattle City Club occupied the building from 1908 to 1911. Subsequently the City Club, described as possibly a posh gentleman’s club or as a gambling club, as well as the City Club Café, occupied the building from 1927 to 1933. The City Club Hotel occupied the upper floors from 1928 to 1965. The building facade stands out because of the combination of Beaux Arts and Art Nouveau architectural detailing. The ornate second and third stories were added in 1905 by Heins & La Farge, with Somervell and Cote as the local supervising architects." (See City of Seattle, Department of Neighborhoods.gov, "Seattle Historical Sites Summary for 112 1st AVE / Parcel ID 5247800466," accessed 12/25/2020.)

The owner of the Olympus Café engaged the well-known New York-based architectural firm of Heins and La Farge to design the two new upper floors. They sent two men, Woodruff M. Somervell and Joseph Coté, to supervise construction. The upper floors stand out in Pioneer Square, as they differed stylistically from most of the Richardsonian Romanesque buildings in the nearby context. The café's 1st Avenue South elevation had distinct elements of the Art Nouveau as well as Beaux-Arts compositional traits.

In 2012, Millstream, a Pacific Northwest-themed jewelry and gifts store occupied first floor retail space.

Building Notes

Tel: (206) 623-1960 (2012).


Architect Conradin Alfred Breitung prepared plans for adding another story onto the Olympus Cafe building in 1902. The Seattle Times reported on 08/03/1902: "C. Alfred Breitung, the architect, has perfected plans for the addition of another story to the Olympus Cafe building, making it two stories in height, and other extensive and elaborate improvements to the interior of the building. The rear portion of the building, which is devoted to the kitchen and pantries, are to be entirely remodeled and modernized, while the second story will contain a large general dining room and banquet hall and a number of private dining rooms. The contract for the improvements will be let within a short time and the work on them will be begun as soon as the Carnival rush is over." (See "Real Estate and Building Review," Seattle Times, 08/03/1902, p. 27.)

Two floors were added to the Olympus Café Building in 1905. The Seattle Times noted in its issue of 10/01/1905: "Work on the exterior of the enlarged Olympus Cafe Building on First Avenue South, between Yesler Way and Washington Street is about completed. The building is now three stories high and presents an attractive appearance from the street. The interior contains a large club room, many private dining rooms and small banquet halls and other features of interest." (See "New Olympus Cafe," Seattle Times, 10/01/1905, p. 2.) According to the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division, "Two floors were added to the original structure in 1905 to accommodate a much larger Olympus Café, including the classically designed Venetian Room, the German Room, the Blue Room and the Lumberman's Club, which took up the whole of the top floor." (See "Olympus Café and Terry and Kittinger Building, 1st Ave. and Washington St. S , ca. 1969,"Accessed 10/18/2012.) The new cornice line of the Olympus Café continued that of the new four-story Terry-Kittinger Building (1905) located just to the north on 1st Avenue South.

PCAD id: 4982