The Scargo Hotel (2209 First Avenue), built in 1911, is a handsome example of an important building type--the workers' hotel. Also known as the SRO (single room occupancy) hotels, these originally served single men who worked in factories, canneries or lumber camps, and rented by the week or month. The individual rooms had no kitchen or bathroom, with residents sharing facilities on each floor. Usually the ground floor had a cafe or tavern where residents could eat.
Most Belltown workers' hotels were built between 1898, when First Avenue was regraded, and 1915. By the 1960s many of these buildings had deteriorated and had become unsafe. In the 1970s, following a deadly hotel fire, the city passed stricter fire safety regulations. Many low-cost hotels were closed because they did not meet the new code.
Today, most of them have been upgraded and provide housing once again, with restaurants and shops below. The Scargo has 46 low-income units. Other workers' hotels in Belltown include the Lewiston Hotel (2205 First Avenue), the Guiry-Schillestad Hotel (2101-11 First Avenue), the Jetway Apartments/Alexandria Hotel (2200 First Avenue), the Douglas Hotel (2300 First Avenue) and the Oregon Hotel (2301 First Avenue).
To learn more about this building, visit the City of Seattle's historical sites page.
First Avenue and Blanchard Street (1.7mb 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).
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