AKA: Josephinum Hotel, Belltown, Seattle, WA; Josephinum Building, Belltown, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - housing - housing for the elderly

Designers: Eames and Young, Architects (firm); Seattle Cornice Works (firm); William Sylvester Eames (architect); James C. Marmaduke (architect); James A. Moore (developer); Thomas Crane Young (architect)

Dates: constructed 1906-1908

14 stories

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1902 2nd Avenue
Downtown, Seattle, WA 98101-1155

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The real estate syndicated that raised much of the money to build the New Washington Hotel came from Saint Louis, MO, and members of this group commissioned a prominent architectural firm of that city, Eames and Young, to design this new, large-scale hotel. Seattle rapidly expanded in the years approaching the Alaska-Yuko-Pacific Exposition of 1909, increasing its number of hotel rooms in anticipation for tourists visiting the fair.

Building History

As announced in the Seattle Times on 01/11/1906, real estate investors, J.E. Chilberg and James C. Marmaduke (c. 1872-1945) purchased land on the northeast corner of Stewart Street and 2nd Avenue from developer James A. Moore (1861-1929) for $200,000. Chilberg and Marmaduke led the investment syndicate, some of members of which resided in Saint Louis, MO, that erected the Alaska Building (1903-1904). According to the article, the hotel would resemble the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco, CA, and was to cost $500,000 to design and erect. They retained the design and construction team responsible for the Alaska Building, Eames and Young, Architects and the James Black Masonry and Construction Company. The prolific Saint Louis architecture firm of Eames and Young operated on a national scale between 1885-1915; it also designed a new Customs House for San Francisco at about the same time. This was the second "Washington Hotel" in Seattle; the first, originally called the Denny Hotel, occupied the top of Denny Hill, but was demolished c. 1906 before the start of the Denny Regrade Project. In 1930, brothers Peter G. (d. 1957) and Adolph Schmidt, onetime owners of the Olympia Brewery in Tumwater, WA, operated the New Washington Hotel; they formed a hotel company when forced to shut down the brewery during Prohibition. In 1930, they merged with two other Washington hotel management companies, that of Frank and Harold Dupar and the Maltby-Thurston Hotel Company to form Western Hotels, Incorporated. At the end of Prohibition in 1933, the Schmidts divested themselves of their hotel investments and returned to brewing, selling out to the other partners of Western Hotels. Western continued to operate the New Washington Hotel until 02/01/1955. (See Sid Copeland, The Story of Western International Hotels, [Seattle: Frayn Publishing Company, 1976], p. 89.)

The FareStart Restaurant #1, an establishment designed to give homeless and disadvantaged people restaurant training, was located in the Josephinum Building from 1992-2007. In 2011, this building, along with the Frye Building (1911) and Traugott Terrace (2003), were operated by the Seattle Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Housing Authority. By 2012, the non-profit Catholic Community Services/Catholic Housing Services of Western Washington operated the Josephinum, an apartment building with 221 studio and one-bedroom apartments for low-income residents and 40 units for recently homeless individuals. In 2019, the building housed about 250 people. (See Christ Our Hope Catholic Church.org, "The Josephinum," accessed 07/31/2019.)

Building Notes

James Crawford Marmaduke had an important role in organizing the investment syndicate that built the New Washington Hotel. In Polk's City Directory of 1907, Marmaduke was listed as being an employee of Eames and Young, Architects. The Seattle Daily Times indicated that "James C. Marmaduke, who is closely associated with Mr. Chilberg in this matter...was instrumental in attracting many St. Louis capitalists to this city...." The Times quoted him as saying: "The people who have interested themselves in the New Washington are already pretty well known in Seattle, by reputation at least. The public here knows that when they start something [it] will be finished. Their work in connection with the Alaska Building is proof of that." (See "New Hotel Will Be Built," Seattle Times, 01/11/2012, p. 1.) Planning for the New Washington occurred simultaneously to the San Francisco Earthquake of 04/18/1906. The scale of destruction there caused some to question high-rise building practices in Seattle. Architect William S. Eames (1857-1915) visited Seattle on the first leg of a West Coast trip, in part to quell fears in the city that the New Washington Hotel would not be built. Eames said that the San Francisco Quake might even spur growth in Seattle: "While it may be un-American to grow successful on another's misfortune, I honestly believe that the 'Frisco disaster will not make but surely will hasten the growth and commercial importance of this city. Nothing now can keep you from becoming the metropolis of the Pacific Coast." (See "New Washington Soon to Be Built," Seattle Times, 05/21/1906, p. 2.) The Seattle Times noted in an article of 05/27/1906, "Ground is to be broken, according to a statement by the architect, within three weeks, for the new Washington Hotel on Second Avenue and Stewart Street." (See "Seattle's Crying Need--More Stores and Offices," Seattle Times, 05/27/1906, p. 40.)

National Register of Historic Places (September 28, 1989): 89001607 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 8914