Friday, February 26, 2021

King Street Station Seattle

Photos above taken in 2018

Photo taken in 2017

King Street Station was built between 1904 & 1906 using concrete, granite, & brick.  The structure was financed by James J Hill who controlled Great Northern Railway & the Northern Pacific Railway. It was Seattle's 1st substantial passenger station, replacing a much smaller wooden building closer to the waterfront. A series of renovations in the mid-20th century removed marble walls & glass mosaic tiles, boarded up windows & replaced doors. The ceiling was lowered with a hanging framework of acoustical tiles & fluorescent light panels.  It reminded me of my junior high school, built in 1957.  That was the state of King Street Station as I greeted my grandma when she came to visit from Montana in the 1960s & 70s: shabby & unattractive.  I was amazed when I saw the restored interior in 2018. 

Increasing use from Sounder (commuter) & Amtrak (long-distance) passengers led to the improvement of King Street Station.  It was included in the Pioneer Square-Skid Road National Historic District in 1970 & listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.  The City of Seattle purchased the property from the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad in 2008 for $10.  The BNSF Railroad carried freight only & leased the passenger facility to Amtrak & Sound Transit. The station's designation as a historic place prevented it from being demolished & replaced. The restoration project was completed in 2013 at a cost more than $55 million. 

In 2018, King Street Station had 25 daily train departures: 13 Sounder commuter trains south to Tacoma with 8 trains continuing to Lakewood (weekdays only). 4 Sounder commuter trains north to Everett (weekdays only). 2 Amtrak Cascades regional trains north to Vancouver. 4 Amtrak Cascades regional trains south to Portland with one train continuing to Eugene. 1 Amtrak Empire Builder long-distance train east to Chicago. 1 Amtrak Coast Starlight long-distance train south to Los Angeles.

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