The signs of economic prosperity are hard to miss. Every time I walk around downtown Seattle these days, old buildings are being demolished to make room for new ones. The demolition of the Galland Building, with its entry way still in tact, caught my eye last Thursday.
This building was built in 1906 to house retail and department stores. It was part of the commercial expansion that occurred due to local economic prosperity after the Klondike Gold Rush and in tandem with explosive population growth and suburban residential development. (Ironic isn’t it that the building is being torn down to make way for a different commercial expansion?)
Seeing the building destroyed makes me a bit sad. I like the architecture of this era; it’s part of what makes Seattle feel like Seattle to me. We are people of the logger, prospectors, pick-yourself-up-from-the-gutter opportunists… The buildings from the early 20th century embody this spirit for me. I’m also sad because this was a rare example of the turn-of-the-century department store building. It will be replaced with something not-so-rare. Functional, yes. But boring.
If you’re interested, you can read more about the building’s history and the original owner – Caroline Kline Galland – here. (Warning: This page is a bit difficult to read, owing to the horrible text layout.)