The J. A. Baillargeon & Company building

{Downtown}

This elegant terra cotta clad building was built as a department store in 1908. Second Avenue was the city's main street for shopping and this store, known as the "white palace," offered every amenity with high-speed elevators, marble-clad restrooms and writing desks for gentlemen waiting for their wives.

This lasted only a few years, as the retail center began to move northward, and the building became the headquarters of the National Bank of Commerce in 1920.

The interior was incorporated into the new headquarters when a modern bank was constructed next door in 1957-58. Now it remains as a cornerstone of the financial district.

To learn more about this building, visit the City of Seattle's historical sites page.

Listen to a podcast from the Downtown Walking Tour.

Second Avenue and Spring Street (665kb mp3)

Find this building on our walking tour map. (680kb pdf)

J. A. Baillargeon & Company building, 1909
J. A. Baillargeon & Company building, photo by Joe Mabel

About us

This site is dedicated to the history of Seattle's downtown and waterfront, especially the State Route 99 / Alaskan Way Viaduct corridor. It was developed by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration as an educational resource and as part of a Memorandum of Agreement for Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (pdf 1mb).

Copyright 2011 Washington State Department of Transportation