The Restored King Street Station
Seattle Attractions--Architecture--Pioneer Square District
301 South Jackson Street
Built 1906--Restored 2013
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OPENING OF THE RESTORED KING STREET STATION
The King Street Station was reopened in April, 2013 after a massive, five year restoration project. In this article, we will examine the history of the building and the events that led to this impressive renovation.
King Street Station (“KSS”) was built from 1904 to 1906 and opened in May 1906 to serve the Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railway. This busy station and the nearby Union Station served as the rail passenger hubs for the growing city of Seattle.
KSS featured a gorgeous interior waiting room and ticket office to service passengers’ needs.
The building’s architects, Reed and Stern, assisted with the design of New York City’s Grand Central Terminal.
KSS featured a 242 foot tall clock tower that had four clock faces pointing to the four cardinal directions. The clock was modeled after the famous bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.
KSS fell on hard times with the decline of passenger rail traffic. The interior of the building was modernized and the beautiful original walls were covered over. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
After years of decline, the building was acquired by the City of Seattle for $10 from BNSF and the City proceeded in 2008 with a massive five year $55,000,000 renovation project. The project’s objectives were to:
- Earthquake proof the entire structure. Enough steel was added to the building and the clock tower to construct a 20 story, high rise building.
- Restore the exterior including the clock tower
- Restore the exterior clocks to working condition
- Perform a major interior refurbishment to bring the interior back to its 1906 grandeur.
Seattle’s King Street Station was reopened in April, 2013 after a massive, five year restoration project. The project was successfully completed and the sparkling building is now back to full operation.
The interior of the King Street Station is dazzling. The gleaming, off-white walls and ceiling, the Corinthian columns, five chandeliers, along with the restored original tile floor combine into a grand image of early 19th century grandeur. The décor has the elegance of an exquisite wedding cake.
King Street Station has rejoined the list of Seattle’s must see architectural highlights. History buffs and architecture fans will be delighted to admire the building’s exterior and its charming interior. A visit to KSS and the adjacent Union Station will certainly revive images of the glory days of passenger rail service.
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