Arctic Building

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Arctic Building
Seattle Arctic Club Building Southwest Corner.jpeg
Arctic Club Building Southwest Corner
Arctic Building is located in Seattle WA Downtown
Arctic Building
Location Seattle, Washington
Coordinates 47°36′13.380634″N 122°19′55.001405″W / 47.60371684278°N 122.33194483472°W / 47.60371684278; -122.33194483472Coordinates: 47°36′13.380634″N 122°19′55.001405″W / 47.60371684278°N 122.33194483472°W / 47.60371684278; -122.33194483472
Area less than one acre
Built 1916
Architect A. Warren Gould
Architectural style Beaux-Arts
NRHP reference # 78002749[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 28, 1978
Designated SEATL December 13, 1993[2]

The Arctic Building is a nine-story building in Seattle, Washington located at the Northeast corner of Third Avenue and Cherry Street. The building was built for the Arctic Club in 1916 and was occupied by them from construction until the club's dissolution in 1971. It is entirely faced with cream white terra cotta with submarine blue and orange-brown accents. It is particularly noted for the terra cotta walrus-heads lining the third floor of the building. Recently restored, the building has been adapted for use as a luxury hotel, Arctic Club Seattle (a DoubleTree by Hilton).[3] It was listed in 1978 on the National Register of Historic Places.


Terra cotta sculpture of a walrus, used on the face of the Arctic Club building

The site of the Arctic building was originally owned by Joseph R. Lewis, the Chief Justice of Washington Territory and a direct descendant of George Washington's sister Betty. The home he built on the site in 1875 was considered one of the finest in Seattle at the time. The house was replaced in 1892 by the three-story, brick Seattle Theatre, designed by the firm of Saunders and Lawton. The newly formed Rainier Club occupied the office portion of the building until it and the theater were replaced by the Arctic Club Building in 1916.

The Arctic Club was formed in 1908 by successful veterans of the Klondike Gold Rush. The existing Alaska Club was merged that year into the Arctic Club. In Seattle, it was a fraternal men's club for businessmen with Gold Rush or Alaska connections.[4] Another Arctic Club was established in New York City, with membership based on exploration of wilderness areas in the Arctic. The Arctic Club in Seattle was initially located in 1909 on 3rd Avenue and Jefferson Street in the Morrison Hotel, also known as the Arctic Club Building.[5]

In 1914, after a dispute with the owner of that building, the Arctic Construction Company, the club board decided to relocate. In 1916, the members commissioned noted Seattle architect A. Warren Gould to design the Arctic Building in downtown Seattle at Third and Cherry as the group's headquarters. James Moses was the builder. During the move, members surreptitiously removed the bar from the original location by hoisting it out one of the windows. The 128 ft. Arctic Club building is in the Beaux-Arts style; it is known for its terra cotta walrus heads, indicative of the club's name, which adorn the third floor facade.

U.S. Congressman Marion Zioncheck committed suicide on August 7, 1936, by jumping from the window of his campaign office on the Arctic Building's fifth floor. His body struck the pavement directly in front of a car occupied by his wife.[6][7][8][9]

As office needs changed, the building was owned for a time by the City of Seattle. It was sold to a Spokane company, which redeveloped the property as a hotel, opening in 2008.[10] It operates as the Arctic Club Hotel, a DoubleTree by Hilton.[11]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "Landmarks and Designation". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  3. ^ The Historic Arctic Building in Seattle Being Transformed into a 120-room Hotel [1]
  4. ^ "About History Luxury Downtown Seattle Hotel Washington". Arctic Club Hotel. Archived from the original on 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  5. ^ Arctic Building (Seattle)
  6. ^ "Zioncheck Kills Self In Five Story Plunge," Seattle Post Intelligencer, August 8, 1936, page 1
  7. ^ Crowley, Walt (2003-08-23). "Congressman Marion Zioncheck commits suicide on August 7, 1936". Retrieved 2015-08-06. 
  8. ^ Royer, Bob (2011-08-01). "Marion Anthony Zioncheck". The Cascadia Courier. Retrieved 2015-08-06. 
  9. ^ Grygiel, Chris (August 30, 2011). "Suicide - or murder? 75th anniversary of pol's sensational death". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  10. ^ Chou, Kimberly (July 7, 2008). "Historic Arctic Club restored for new life as hotel". Seattle P-I. Retrieved 2012-12-15. 
  11. ^ "The Arctic Club Seattle - a DoubleTree Hotel". Retrieved 6 August 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl. Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects. Rev. ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994. ISBN 0-295-97366-8

External links[edit]