The Leamington Hotel and Apartments documents Seattle's transition from a restless boomtown of transient laborers to an industrial and commercial center populated with permanent citizens. Hotels frequently housed the transient population, and the number of hotels grew astronomically during three periods: after the Great Fire of 1889, during the Klondike Gold Rush and during Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. After 20 years of explosive growth, 1910 Seattle boasted over 475 hotels--more than any city of comparable size in the U.S. In the next five years, poor management, fires and shrinking numbers of temporary residents (such as Klondike stampeders) caused many of these businesses to close. In 1915, Seattle real-estate men believed travelers who had planned to go to Europe before the outbreak of World War I and others already on the West Coast for California expositions would begin to fill local hotels.
Dr. Edward Lincoln Smith, optimistic but pragmatic, hired Seattle architects Walter Wilcox and Julian Everett (responsible for the Iron Pergola in Pioneer Square), to design a building combining a transient hotel and apartments. Smith reasoned that if the hotel population vanished, apartment rentals would compensate and vice versa. Divided stylistically to indicate their different uses, the apartments featured French window forms at mock balconies, while the hotel boasted a cornice-level balustrade and pressed terra-cotta quatrefoils. Over the years, both halves received a number of unattractive alterations, and by the late 1980s the hotel was closed. In 1995, however, what is now known as the Pacific Hotel reopened as 112 units of affordable housing. The Washington State Historic Preservation Officer recognized the skill of the rehabilitation by awarding the project, which benefited from the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program, the Outstanding Achievement Award in Historic Preservation.
The Leamington Hotel and Apartments is located at 317 Marion St. The building is not open to the public.
Photograph by Mike Romine, courtesy of Stickney Murphy Romine Architects, P.L.L.C. of Seattle
Doorway and windows before and after renovation
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