Pioneer Place Park was established in 1893 in the triangular space left over from the street widening and re-platting following the 1889 fire. The park sat at the city's transportation hub, where the First Avenue, James Street and Yesler Way streetcar lines met.
In 1909, just in time for the Alaskan-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the City built an ornate barrel-vaulted glass-and-iron shelter (the pergola) for people waiting for the streetcar. Beneath it was an elegant marble-clad restroom, which has been closed since World War II. The nearby fountain and bust of Chief Seattle, honoring the area's first occupants, were also installed in 1909. The totem pole was erected in 1940 after the original pole was burned in an arson fire.
In February of 2001, a delivery truck clipped the edge of the pergola, bringing it down in a pile of iron and broken glass. Fortunately, the original manufacturer was still in business and was able to restore it to its original elegance--with a reinforced steel interior frame The park, the pergola and the adjoining Pioneer Building together are a National Historic Landmark.
To learn more about this building, visit the City of Seattle’s historical sites page.
First Avenue and Yesler Way (3mb 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