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Mapping Seattle's Tallest Building Over History

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Photo: Visitor7/Wikimedia Commons

If and when it's completed, the proposed 77-story tower at Third & Marion will become the tallest building in Seattle, replacing the 76-story Columbia Center building. That got us thinking about the ever-changing Seattle skyline and how it has evolved over time. How did we get from an era when the tallest building in town was 110-feet tall to creeping ever-closer to Seattle's first 1,000-foot-tall skyscraper? We mapped out the history of "Seattle's tallest building" in order to see where we've come from and perhaps see how high we'll go next...

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Pioneer Building

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The Pioneer Building stands on the spot once occupied by Henry Yesler's home. The six-floor, 110-foot-tall symmetrical block held the title of Seattle's tallest building between 1892 and 1904. The overall height of the building was reduced to 92 feet following the 1949 Olympia Earthquake.

Alaska Building/Courtyard Marriott

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The 14-story, 203-foot Alaska Building was built in 1904 and was the first steel-frame structure of any height in the Northwest. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is now a Courtyard Marriott hotel.

King Street Station (SEA)

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The depot's 242-foot tower was modeled after Venice's Campanile di San Marco and helped make it the tallest building in Seattle between 1906 and 1914.

Smith Tower

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This 38-story, 489-foot tower still has the longest reign as Seattle's tallest building, holding the title from 1914 to 1962. Originally intended as a 14-story building, it grew out of a rivalry with Tacoma's National Realty Building to be the tallest west of the Mississippi.

Space Needle

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Some will say the Needle doesn't count as it's not a fully habitable building, but, come on. It's 605 feet-tall. It counts. Between 1962 and 1969, no Seattle structure was taller.

Safeco Plaza

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Originally known as 1001 Fourth Avenue Plaza, this 50-story, 630-foot skyscraper edged out the Space Needle by 25 feet to claim the crown between 1969 and 1985.

Columbia Center

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Seattle's tallest structure since 1985, the 66-story tower is also the second tallest structure on the West Coast at 932 feet-tall. If not for an FAA order, it would have been 1,005 feet tall.

Marion Bldg/Third & Marion Tower

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If and when it's completed, the 77-story tower would be one floor taller than the Columbia Center. So far, it's still in the planning stages.

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Pioneer Building

The Pioneer Building stands on the spot once occupied by Henry Yesler's home. The six-floor, 110-foot-tall symmetrical block held the title of Seattle's tallest building between 1892 and 1904. The overall height of the building was reduced to 92 feet following the 1949 Olympia Earthquake.

Alaska Building/Courtyard Marriott

The 14-story, 203-foot Alaska Building was built in 1904 and was the first steel-frame structure of any height in the Northwest. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is now a Courtyard Marriott hotel.

King Street Station (SEA)

The depot's 242-foot tower was modeled after Venice's Campanile di San Marco and helped make it the tallest building in Seattle between 1906 and 1914.

Smith Tower

This 38-story, 489-foot tower still has the longest reign as Seattle's tallest building, holding the title from 1914 to 1962. Originally intended as a 14-story building, it grew out of a rivalry with Tacoma's National Realty Building to be the tallest west of the Mississippi.

Space Needle

Some will say the Needle doesn't count as it's not a fully habitable building, but, come on. It's 605 feet-tall. It counts. Between 1962 and 1969, no Seattle structure was taller.

Safeco Plaza

Originally known as 1001 Fourth Avenue Plaza, this 50-story, 630-foot skyscraper edged out the Space Needle by 25 feet to claim the crown between 1969 and 1985.

Columbia Center

Seattle's tallest structure since 1985, the 66-story tower is also the second tallest structure on the West Coast at 932 feet-tall. If not for an FAA order, it would have been 1,005 feet tall.

Marion Bldg/Third & Marion Tower

If and when it's completed, the 77-story tower would be one floor taller than the Columbia Center. So far, it's still in the planning stages.