Structure Type: built works - recreation areas and structures

Designers: Bebb and Gould, Architects (firm); Cutter, Kirtland Kelsey, Architect (firm); Saunders and Lawton, Architects (firm); Charles Herbert Bebb ; Kirtland Kelsey Cutter (architect); Carl Freylinghausen Gould Sr. (architect); George Willis Lawton (architect); Charles Willard Saunders (architect); Edwin Wager (architect)

Dates: constructed 1904

820 4th Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98104-1653

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For many years, the Rainier Club has been the premier private club for business people in Seattle. Originally an all white-male organization, it had the reputation for being for the local elite and a place where business deals were made. Architect Kirtland K. Cutter designed the highly unusual English Renaissance building, with some details, such as its clinker-brick exterior, derived from the period's Arts and Crafts architecture.

Building History

This was the third building to serve as the home of the Rainier Club. Its first home was located in the former residence of James F. and Agnes McNaught, erected in 1883-1884 according to the designs of the noted Portland architect Warren Heywood Williams (1844-1888). It occupied the McNaught House between 1890 and 1893. In 1894, the Rainier Club had moved to the northwest corner of 3rd Avenue and Cherry Street.

The Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board landmarked the exterior of the building in 1987. Some architectural features of the Rainier Club were said to have been taken from Aston Hall, (John Thorpe, architect, 1618-1635), Birmingham, UK. This can be seen most clearly in the scalloped Jaobean gables and tall windows of the exterior. The resemblance is not exact, however.

According to Glenn Mason and Lawrence Kreisman, Edwin Wager served as Cutter and Malmgren's Seattle representative, supervising the construction of the Rainier Club.

Building Notes

A clubhouse for an elite social club in Seattle, WA, organized 07/25/1888, as a haven for the city's business and political leaders; this clubhouse cost slightly over $100,000 and opened on 09/30/1904.

In 1930, a number of influential businessmen maintained rooms at the Rainier Club, including the retailer Joseph A. Baillargeon (born c. 1856 in Canada), real estate mogul James William Clise, Sr., (1855-1938), mining executive Edward J. Mathews (born c. 1870 in OH), real estate man Stuart Agen (born c. 1886 in IA)) and an US internal Revenue agent George W. Ade (born c. 1865 in IA). The Rainier Club, according to the 1930 US Census, had an estimated value of $416,000. (See, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Seattle, King, Washington; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0137; FHL microfilm: 2342233, accessed 10/11/2021.)

Between 1937-1941, Eddie Carlson managed the Rainier Club; Carlson became a significant local business figure. He served as the President of the Western International Hotel chain and later United Airlines. Carlson was a driving force behind the planning of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, much of the early planning for which took place at the Rainier Club.

Unlike some more discriminatory organizations, the Rainier Club has not, since 11/25/1966, excluded potential members by race or sex. (A Japanese man, Saburo Nishimuro, became the club's first non-Caucasian member, and a woman, Judge Betty Fletcher, joined in 06/14/1977.)

A room in the Rainier Club that was originally a reception room for women guests, became renamed the Fletcher Room.


The Rainier Club burned in 03/01/1904, but was rebuilt shortly therafter as per the original. Bebb and Gould made additions to the clubhouse in 1928-1929. A Rainier Club presentation drawing by Bebb and Gould hangs on a third-floor wall. Much of the southern portion of the building dates from this period. Art Deco floral details and decorative wrought ironwork are mixed with various other stylistic features, including Georgian Revival, on the Bebb and Gould interior.

Some remodeling of the interior was done in the early 1990s. After 1996, studies were made for remodeling the health club and the kitchen area was completely updated;

In 2015, the garden on the building's south side was rebuilt and a new underground parking garage added when The Mark, a 44-floor mixed use office/hotel tower, was erected on the same block to the east and south. The Rainier Club participated in The Mark's planning process, during which the 1st Methodist Episcopal Church #3 was preserved.

Seattle Historic Landmark (12/28/1986): ID n/a

National Register of Historic Places (April 22, 1976): 76001889 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 5185