Occidental Hotel: The Rise, Fall, Rise, and Fall of Pioneer Square's Historic Hotel -- A Slideshow Photo Essay

  • By Paul Dorpat
  • Posted 11/04/2004
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7081

This photo shows the first Occidental Hotel, at 1st Avenue and Yesler Way, during a memorial after the assassination of President Garfield in 1881. The wood-framed hotel opened in 1861.

John Collins built a new, grander Occidental Hotel in 1883. In February 1884, the Puget Sound National Bank moved into its ground-floor room.

The Occidental Hotel stands near the center of this view looking south on 1st Avenue. This photo is believed to have been taken on June 5, 1889 -- one day before most of downtown Seattle burned to the ground.

Here is the same view, a few days after the Great Fire.

This view of Hotel Seattle was taken after the Pioneer Square pergola was built in 1909.

By the time its giant neighbor, the Smith Tower, opened in 1914, the Hotel Seattle's rooms had been converted into offices.

By 1961, the Hotel Seattle was all but abandoned. Downtown leaders drew up "Urban Renewal" plans to flatten it and much of the rest of Pioneer Square for parking garages.

The Hotel Seattle was demolished in 1961 and replaced by the "Sinking Ship" garage. This action galvanized Seattle's historic preservation movement and led to the listing of all of Pioneer Square as a National Historic District in 1970.

New brick buildings, including the Occidental Hotel, had risen from the ashes by the early 1890s. The renamed "Hotel Seattle" occupied a busy corner in 1900, served by cable cars and a tangle of utility lines.

This is a history of the Rise, Fall, Rise, and Fall of the Occidental Hotel, located in Seattle's Pioneer Square, from 1881 to the present. Written and Curated by Paul Dorpat, with Steven Leith. Presented by Priscilla "Patsy" Collins.

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