When the transcontinental railroad finally reached Seattle, the only train station was a shed on the waterfront. In the early years of the 20th century, the tide flats were filled to form flat lands for railroad yards and industry. But when the Great Northern Railway proposed a new station, the city protested that it would bring too much congestion. They requested a tunnel to carry the trains beneath the city. The tunnel begins at King Street Station and reaches the waterfront north of the Pike Place Market. Its south portal is visible at the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and S. Jackson Street.
King Street Station was completed in 1906, boasting a tower based on the campanile in Venice's Piazza san Marco. During the 1960s, its ornate interior was covered up in a modernization effort. A long-awaited restoration is now underway to uncover and repair the vaulted ceilings, mosaic tile floors and historic light fixtures. King Street Station is once again a transportation hub, with Amtrak and the regional Sounder trains stopping here.
To learn more about this building, visit the City of Seattle’s historical sites page.
Third Avenue S. and S. Jackson Street (1.15mb mp3)
Find this building on our walking tour map. (680kb pdf)
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