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304 Alaskan Way S.
Formally known as The Oregon and Washington Railroad and Navigation Co. Building, 304 is a designated historical landmark. It was built immediately following Seattle’s great fire of 1889, with construction completed in 1890. The national register of historic places has this to say about it:
Located between South Main Street and South Jackson Street, this is a three story building with only one primary facade along Alaskan Way South. It has exterior brick walls and an original interior structure of wood post and beam. It has a footprint of 50 feet by 110 feet with a parapet. It has a concrete foundation and basement. Above the ground level, the main facade is distinguished by three bays, each composed of two segmental arched openings, per floor. Separating the three bays are brick piers. Corbelling visually closes off each of the bays. There is also a corbelled band that runs the length of the facade, The first level is used as a loading dock, and also has a low, angled wood roof, that has been added, making it difficult to see the openings. This much is obvious: to the north is a segmentally-arched doorway, followed by a window opening with a segmental arch, then, a series of trabeated openings, including a main entry with double doors and two windows with multi-pane transoms, which look original.
It is typical of buildings erected in the district, right after the Great Fire of 1889. This is true, both in terms of construction and in the design and detailing of the facade: the expression of the brick piers, the use of corbelling and the repeated segmental arched openings. From 1913 to 1954, the Oregon and Washington Railroad and Navigation Company owned the building, which was used to warehouse goods, transported bv their trains. Based on an historical photograph from the 1930s, the building already had a loading dock and many signs that obscured its ground level.
304 Alaskan Way S. in 2013 before AMP purchased the building and began repairs.
Most historical studies do not give the building much credit, except for being part of the district, but it is, in fact, one of the few remaining buildings from as early as 1890 in the Pioneer Square-Skid Road National Historic District, and also located close to the former tidal flats. Only the former Lowman & Hanford Printing and Binding Building from 1890, (69 S. Washington St), is located as close to the former tide flats. The St. Charles Hotel from 1889 is located one building to the east, but in the vicinity. The building's exterior is also virtually intact, particularly the upper floors. The makeshift wooden roof at the lower floor and the wood fire stairs make it hard to see some details, but the most important elements seem to be unchanged.
In the mid-1970s, the building caught fire and sustained some heavy damage to the interior and lost some historical windows. Subsequently it was damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake.
AMP purchased the building in 2013. At that time, it was in a state of disrepair, with a completely collapsed parapet on the back of the building and heavy rot throughout, with water damage on all floors. We have been working on it nonstop ever since.
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