The East side - The West side - The South side - The North side

The Southern facade

Until its partial destruction during 1998-2000, the Southern (Bell St.) view of the Seattle Empire Laundry building remained remarkable.

On each floor, nine full-length pilasters separated eight window bays (four of those on the top floor were initially blocked by a billboard). The stepped-brick capitals and the uppermost parapet complemented these extremely expansive windows.

Together, they conveyed a completely intact architectural portrait of a pre-labor movement industrial building. Between the stepped brick and the parapet on this facade, the laundry once lavishly advertised its names – even as they changed througout the years.

In 1951, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct was erected, the building was bought as a plant by James Branson Simpson’s Arctic Fur Company. After his company’s 1959 merger with the Alaska Fur Company, this ‘branding’ tradition was not merely continued. It was amplified with Fifties' promotional zeal, when the new "Alaska-Arctic" hung its own large billboard along the top of this facade.

The slope of the South facade exposes only part of the old basement windows.

By the 1980s, these were partially replaced (one pane each) and mostly filled in with opaque glass brick.

The WPA Survey photograph from 1937 also shows a fire escape on this facade. That fire escape, which served the first to third floors, was removed some time after 1987.

The South facade's partial destruction

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