Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: Meany, Stephen J., Architect (firm); Stephen Joseph Meany (architect)

Dates: constructed 1889-1890, demolished 1961

5 stories

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2nd Avenue and James Street
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA 98104

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The Occidental Hotel #3 occupied the triangular parcel of land lying between 2nd Avenue, James Street and Yesler Way.

Building History

In 03/1865, three Seattle men--Amos Brown, John S. Condon and M.R. Maddocks--opened the Occidental Hotel #1, the first hotel to occupy this triangular plot of land in Pioneer Square at the intersection of James Street, Mill Street and Front Street, the commercial heart of 19th-century Seattle. (Authors disagree on the date of the Occidental Hotel #1. Clarence Bagley, in his History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 2, [Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1916] p. 665, indicated a date of 1865; Paul Dorpat, in his article, "Occidental Hotel: The Rise, Fall, Rise, and Fall of Pioneer Square's Historic Hotel -- A Slide Show Photo Essay," placed the the opening date in 1861.Accessed 08/18/2009.) In 09/1865, Seattle businessman John Collins (1835-1903) purchased Brown's stake in the hotel; Collins grew wealthy from diverse investments in real estate, railroad stock and mining shares; he gradually took control of the property from his co-owners; always looking for a new way to profit, he demolished the Occidental Hotel #1 in 1883 and erected Seattle's first upscale hotel, the Occidental Hotel #2 in 1884; this establishment, located on the same choice piece of property as the first hotel in the heart of Pioneer Square, set the standard for the city's luxury hotels until it burned in the Great Seattle Fire of 06/06/1889.

With a track record of financial success, Collins rebuilt his hotel after the fire, renaming it the "Hotel Seattle" and selecting local architect Stephen Meany to design a distinctive flat-iron-shaped, five-story facility. Unlike the ornate Second Empire Styled Occidental Hotel #2, the Seattle hotel had a more restrained masonry exterior with arched fenestration.

The Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1892, also listed another "Occidental Hotel" in operation on the northeast corner of South 2nd Avenue and Main Street. (p. 673).

Building Notes

Seattle's Public Library opened its first reading room on the 5th floor of the Seattle Hotel on 04/08/1891. It subsequently moved across the street on 06/28/1894 to the Collins Hotel, where it remained for 2 years.

The Hotel Seattle also contained offices. In 1892, the law firm of Julius A.,Stratton, J. Hamilton Lewis and L.C. Gilman maintained their offices in Rooms #101-106 of the Occidental Block. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1892, p. 846.) Gilman had been Seattle's City Attorney in 1887 and would become the President of the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway Company (SP&S), a line that operated between 1905 and 1970. (See L.C. GIlman, "The Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railroad Company," Washington Historical Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 1, 01/1923, pp. 14-20.) In 1919, he served as District Director of the US Railway Administration, and by 1923, he had become a Vice-President of the Great Northern Railway Company.

The People's National Bank operated in one of the Occidental Block #3's storefronts at 116 Yesler Way in 1899.


A strong earthquake in WA hit the Seattle area at 11:55 a.m. on 04/13/1949, causing masonry to fall from the Seattle Hotel's facade. The hotel partially collapsed in 1961 and then was fully demolished. The Seattle Hotel, long abandoned, fell down, in part, due to neglect. It was replaced with the ghastly "sinking ship" parking garage in 1961. The demolition of the Seattle Hotel helped to catalyze the formation of citizen groups agitating for the preservation of the Pioneer Square Neighborhood.

PCAD id: 8040