AKA: Macy's Department Store, Downtown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - department stores

Designers: Graham, John and Company, Architects and Engineers (firm); John Graham Sr. (architect/engineer)

Dates: constructed 1927-1929

7 stories

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1601 3rd Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98101-1534

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Third to Fourth Avenue between Pine Street and Stewart Street;

Building History

Federated Department Stores owned the Bon Marche chain, and altered the names of these stores first to Bon-Macy's in 2003 and later to Macy's in 02/2005; Federated Department Stores, itself, changed its name to Macy's Incorporated in 2007.

The architectural firm, John Graham and Company, designed this Bon Marche Store #3 in 1927-1929 as well as the Frederick and Nelson Deparment Store #3 (1916-1918) at 500 Pine Street and Fraser-Paterson (later J.C. Penney) Department Store (1929-1930) at 1415 2nd Avenue.

Building Notes

According to an advertisement extolling Seattle's construction rate in 1927, the Bon Marche Department Store #3 cost $3,000,000 to erect. See "Seattle 'the City that is ever Building!'" Seattle Daily Times, 07/09/1928, p. 34. Architectural historian Lawrence Kreisman wrote of the copper awning sheltering shoppers on the exterior of the Bon Marche: "Perhaps the richest example of marine life on a Seattle building is the handsome copper awning surrounding the downtown Bon Marche, designed by John Graham Sr. and completed in 1930. Sea horses, fish, scallops, shells and seaweed form the composition." (See Lawrence Kreisman, "Northwest Living Nature In Architecture -- Seattle Buildings Wear Waves Of Creature Profiles," Seattle Times, 01/14/1990,Accessed 02/01/2011)

Tel: 206.506.6000 (2006).


Graham and Company added a fifth floor to the Bon Marche Department Store #3 in the early 1930s. Additional floors and a skybridge linking it to a parking garage across the street were also added. Like any department store that needs to remain au courant, the Bon Marche's interior has been redesigned many times. A modernized classical bas relief band at the cornice line was removed later when the building was enlarged. Escalators were added gradually to the retail floors. a final escalator serving the third and fourth floors was installed in 02/1947. A Seattle Times article quoted James F. Hayward, Vice-President of the Bon Marche and the last escalator: "With Seattle and her adjacent communities constantly increasing in population, we long have felt the need of additional escalators to handle store traffic. Only with the war concluded have we been able to make this last installation in our store system of two escalators between all selling floors from basement to the fourth level. Closely spaced cleats are provided for greater comfort for women shoppers wearing narrow, high heels. Stainless-steel balustrades and cleats, synchronized handrails of artificial rubber and safety-stop buttons at both landings are features of the new lift." (See "New Bon Escalator To Be Ready in April," Seattle Times, 02/19/1947. p.14.)

Seattle Historic Landmark: ID n/a

National Register of Historic Places: ID n/a

PCAD id: 5480