AKA: Great Northern Railway Company-Northern Pacific Railway Company, Terminal, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA; King Street Railroad Station #1, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - infrastructure - transportation structures - railroad stations

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1892

1 story

view all images ( of 1 shown)

Western Avenue and Columbia Street
Downtown, Seattle, WA

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map


Seattle investors pooled their resources together to connect Seattle with Spokane Falls and points east, after the Northern Pacific Railway Company selected Tacoma, WA, over Seattle as its Western terminus. The Northern Pacific had first selected Tacoma over Seattle in 1873, but due to various difficulties the line to Tacoma wasn't finished until 1887. The Seatttle Lake Shore and Eastern was formed by a collection of Seattle businessmen working with the New York bank of Jameson, Smith and Cotting on 04/15/1885.

Building History

A terminal at the foot of Columbia Street in Downtown Seattle was in operation in 1890. Stations along the line between Seattle and Snoqualmie Falls were noted by a 13-year-old rider in that year: "On March 26, 1890, Otto Reinig, a boy of 13, took the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway on an excursion trip from Seattle to Snoqualmie Falls. He logged his trip on a small piece of notepaper, listing each depot along the way and the arrival times. The train departed from the foot of Columbia Street, with the following stops: Boulevard, Fremont, Latona, Ravenna Park, Yesler Junction, Keith, Lake Wayne, Bothell, Woodinville, Derby, York, Redmond, Adelaide, Inglewood, Monohan, Gilman, Preston, Fall City and Snoqualmie Falls. The time from Columbia Street to Snoqualmie Falls was 2 hours, 50 minutes. He had traveled about 45 miles at an average speed of 15 miles per hour." (See Fall City Historical Society.org, "Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railway," accessed 10/31/2023.)

The Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway Terminal operated this depot from 1892 until 1906, when the new King Street Station opened. In a rare show of cooperation, the Northern Pacific and Great Northern Railways collaborated on the construction of a new King Street Station and the 5,245-foot tunnel under Downtown Seattle (completed 1905) that led to it from the north. Both railroads used the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway Seattle Depot until construction was complete on both the new station and tunnel.

Building Notes

Located on the Elliott Bay waterfront at Western Avenue and Columbia Street, this station was relatively small, but it had an enviable location, situated closest to the east, nearest to the Pioneer Square central business district. It had a single story covered by a shallowly-pitched gable roof. Columns supported long roof overhangs that sheltered passengers waiting on all four sides of the building.


The Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway Company Passenger Depot was razed before 1906.

PCAD id: 6247