Arctic Building

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The Arctic Building is located one block north of the Pioneer Square and Skid Road Historic District at 306 Cherry St., in Seattle, Washington.

Although most who headed north to the Alaskan gold fields during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1896 found no gold, a small percentage did return to Seattle with more than just memories. The Arctic Building, designed by A. Warren Gould, was the social playground for the Arctic Club, ‘Nouveau riche’ men who had gone to the Klondike and returned having “struck it rich.”

Keeping true to the club's vision, Gould designed an eight-story building whose opulence included fine Alaskan marble and stone walrus heads that ran around the third-floor exterior. Gould designed the building to use terra cotta panels placed over a steel reinforced concrete frame. Unlike earlier applications of this technique, such as the Hoge Building, the Arctic Building was designed with just off-white, submarine-blue, and orange-brown panels.

The club included such amenities as a tearoom, a bowling alley, and a private roof garden. The formal dining room was always at the center of the club’s social life. The dining room’s stucco ceilings were artistically painted. The ornamental architectural elements and beautiful chandeliers exalt the opulent history and foundation of the building and the people who commissioned it.

Commercial space had always been available, but now offices have taken over the entire building. Despite its new use, the Alaskan marble and sculptured walrus heads still proclaim the excesses that Klondike gold brought to Seattle.