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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Continuing our Play-Tourist-in-Seattle project, we
visited the Smith Tower on this sunny Sunday
afternoon.  We fell in with a pair of real lady
tourists from Tennessee, while walking along 2nd
Avenue, and we convinced them to visit the tower
with us.

The Smith Tower at the south end of downtown
makes the perfect complement to the Space
Needle at the north end of downtown.  Each is set
off some distance from the skyscrapers at the
downtown core, giving you a different view of
those as well as far out to the mountains,  
waterways, neighborhoods, and landmarks around
Seattle.  The two towers even have a view of each
other down the narrow corridor of 2nd Avenue.

The Smith Tower was built between 1910 and 1914
for one million dollars.  It was deliberately placed in
the far-off boondocks town of Seattle to gain
publicity for the Smith brand of typewriters.  At
completion, the tower was among the tallest
skyscrapers outside of New York City and
remained the tallest building west of the
Mississippi until 1931 and tallest on the West Coast
until the Space Needle was constructed in 1962.

The observation level at the base of the pyramid
features a small gift shop with a very
knowledgeable docent, historical photos and
maps, and Chinese woodwork gifted to Mrs. Smith
by the Empress of China.  You can walk freely
outside along all four sides of the building, safely
enclosed behind iron bars.

Photo Album

Smith Tower

by Bob Kelly
Nye Beach
View of Smith Tower down Yesler Way
View of the Space Needle down 2nd Avenue
Top of the tower - observation level at bottom of pyramid
Policeman on horses
Gleaming brass lobby
Plaque stating: Smith Tower 42 Stories
View of the Columbia Center - Seattle's tallest building
View of Qwest Field and Safeco Field
View of Elliott Bay and the ferry dock
Close-up of architectural detail
View towards the mountains