Smith Tower

506 2nd Ave Seattle

VAMONDE Seattle
Written By VAMONDE Seattle

History

Take a trip to see Smith Tower - he oldest skyscraper in Seattle. Built-in 1914, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, standing at 484 feet. In fact, it was still the tallest building on the west coast until the Space Needle claimed the title in time for the World Fair in 1962.

Smith Tower was financed by Lyman Cornelius Smith, who was a businessman who specialized in firearms and typewriters. Perhaps he heard about the pen being mightier than the sword but wasn't completely sure. Might as well own them both.

The Wishing Chair

The original Smith Tower had a room called the Chinese Room, which was furnished by Chinese Empress Dowager Cixi. The room included the "Wishing Chair," which was engraved with a dragon and a phoenix. According to legend (started by Smith's own daughter), any unmarried person who sat in the chair would be married within the year.

Smith Tower Today

More recently, tech firms and other startups have begun to occupy Smith Tower. For example, Microsoft and a digital branch of Disney are recent tenants.

One of the main tourist attractions is the observation deck, which was recently remodeled in 2016. There is a prohibition-themed bar on the 35th floor, as well as a tour that explains the history and cultural significance of the building.

Fun Fact!

As a fun fact, a famous bootlegger and his wife hosted a radio station through a remote studio in Smith Tower during prohibition. The bootlegger's wife used to read bedtime stories, which were alleged to contain secret messages. The wife, whose alias was Aunt Vivian, now has a cocktail named after her at the bar on the observation deck. Why not try one?

Tickets

Tickets are $20 for adults, with discounts for seniors, children, and military personnel.

Smith Tower Observation Deck
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Smith Tower

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