Alaska Trade Building

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Alaska Trade Building
Seattle 1915-1919 First Avenue.jpg
Alaska Trade Building is located in Seattle WA Downtown
Alaska Trade Building
Location Seattle, Washington
Coordinates 47°36′37.57″N 122°20′31.67″W / 47.6104361°N 122.3421306°W / 47.6104361; -122.3421306Coordinates: 47°36′37.57″N 122°20′31.67″W / 47.6104361°N 122.3421306°W / 47.6104361; -122.3421306
Built 1909
Architect J.C. Taft
Architectural style Industrial
NRHP reference #


Added to NRHP May 6, 1971

The Alaska Trade Building, also known as the Union Record Building and the Steele Building, is a historic building in Seattle, Washington located on First Avenue near the Pike Place Market. Built in 1909, it was one of the first reinforced steel, concrete and brick buildings in the area and was advertised as being completely fireproof. The building is historically associated with the country's only Union-owned daily newspaper, The Seattle Union Record and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Alaska Trade Building was built by contractor James Steele in 1909 replacing a two-story wooden building known as the 'Rose Block' that pre-dated the Great Seattle fire.[2] It was designed by Seattle architect J.C. Taft in a very utilitarian style with almost no ornamentation. Original plans for the building published in the Seattle Times called for an eight-story building trimmed in Granite and Terra cotta that would cost $135,000 to build but only the first four floors were ever built.[3] In late 1910, the unfinished building was purchased from Steele by Portland, Oregon developers J.O. Storey and Thomas Lavake.[4] The building was purchased by the Central Labor Council and the local Trade Union in 1915.

The Seattle Union Record was established as a weekly paper in 1910 by the Central Labor Council. The council's secretary, E.B. "Harry" Ault, became editor in 1912 and would expand the paper to a daily in 1918. Under Ault's leadership, the paper grew from a circulation of 3,000 to 50,000 to over 112,000 in 1919. Seeking larger quarters, the paper was moved into the Alaska Trade Building in 1921.

When Dave Beck took control of the Central Labor Council, he sold the paper to Ault in 1924. The paper ceased publication in 1928 but would see a brief resurrection during the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer strikes in 2000.[5]

The building's third floor is currently home to the office of Ecotope, Inc.


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Seattle, Washington Territory (Fire Insurance Map).(1st ed.). New York: Sanborn Map and Publishing Company, 1888
  3. ^ "Steele Building for First Avenue" Seattle Times 7 Mar. 1909.
  4. ^ "Portland Man Buys More Property Here" Seattle Times 12 Dec. 1910.
  5. ^ Seattle Times Staff. "Pinched Papers Planned to get Bigger" The Seattle Times - 24 Nov, 2000. Retrieved September 25, 2009

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