The Henry M. Jackson Federal Building


Several buildings were demolished for the 1973 construction of the Jackson Federal Building. The dramatic red terra cotta arches and finials of one of these, the 1891 Burke Building, are preserved along the south side of the block.

The imposing six-story Burke Building was one of the most prominent of the brick Romanesque structures completed shortly after the Great Fire of 1889. Despite public protests, it was demolished in 1971 for construction of the 37-story federal building.

The current steel-framed office tower features recessed windows and strong vertical elements that emphasize its height. It is topped by a metal hipped roof. The building takes advantage of the steeply sloping site with brick stairs and a landscaped plaza along the sunnier south side. The building was named for U. S. Senator Henry Jackson shortly after his sudden death in 1983.

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Burke Building, 1898
Jackson Federal 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