The Central Business District, ca.1906


(Click photo to enlarge)

The long longed for Grand Union Depot (Great Northern RR)  opened May 9, 1906.  In place of pomp and circumstance, there was debris on the floor of the waiting room and the driveways and walks were not paved.  And the first train was hours late.  But still the depot was grand.  The St. Paul architects, Reed and Stem, may have been practicing.  Eight years later they designed New York’s Grand Central Station.  The Seattle station was built with bricks from Renton and granite from Index.  The Marble from Vermont was late in arriving – through the tunnel.  The depot tower, a tribute to the campanile in Venice’s San Marco Square, was also a wonderful new prospect from which to look in all directions.  Although the tower was not opened to the public it was to a few photographers and among the records returned is the stitched three-part panorama featured here that looks north (and west and east) to the Central Business District. To the right of the owl cigar sign and near the southwest corner of 4th Avenue and Washington Street is the south portal to the railroad tunnel.  On the far right, the dark mass of the gas standpipe at the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Jackson Street is fast approaching the end of the company’s more than thirty years facing a Gas Cove that by 1906 was lost in the litter of fill dropped beside it. The standpipes and manufacturing plant across Jackson were razed in 1907 for the Union Pacific and the contributions of the Jackson Street Regrade.  At its bottom right corner, the uncredited panorama includes a revealing disorder at the intersection of Jackson Street and 4th Avenue.  To the north of Jackson the freshly regraded avenue is held behind the high retaining wall built for separating the grade between it and the approach to the tunnel.  Both Jackson Street and 4th Avenue south of it are still built on trestles.

The dating for this panorama is helped on the distant horizon where the Washington Hotel is still standing on Denny Hill.  It appears just left of center. The hotel’s central tower breaks the horizon. (Did you remember to click the image to enlarge it?)  The hotel stood on the front or south summit of Denny Hill and straddled the future continuation of Third Avenue north from Pine Street once the hill was lowered.   The hotel was razed late in 1906, the year the Union Depot tower was completed.   The Denny Regrade north of Pine Street and as far east as 5th Avenue was completed by 1911.

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