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Delivering a first-rate transportation system for Seattle Scott Kubly, Director







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King Street Photo Gallery

SDOT Flickr has tons of historic photos and shots of station restoration

Renderings of finished Jackson Plaza and S King Street entrance.

Click on images to view larger versions

4/24/13 New photos online - Grand Reopening Event

Click for more photos of the event.
And check back as we'll be adding even more in the next few days.


3/27 New photos online - Finishes (plaster, marble, tiles)

Painter sprays first coat of primer on ceiling.

When the station was opened to the public in May 1906, its grand waiting room had ornamental plaster ceilings.  The plaster walls were interspersed with fluted Corinthian columns.  The lower part of the walls and columns have white marble accented with glass mosaic tiles in white, green, red and gold.  A massive bronze chandelier hung in the center of the main waiting room.  Along with four smaller chandeliers and wall sconces, they  provided illumination for the passengers inside the station.  The terrazzo floor has inlaid square mosaic tiles.  This created a compass shaped pattern at the station entrance and other rectangular patterns throughout the rest of the areas.

A series of renovations in the 1940s, 50s and 60s have removed the plaster and marble walls, glass mosaic tiles and covered the plaster ceiling with acoustical tiles.  The historic light fixtures were replaced with fluorescent lights.  The terrazzo floor was cracked and in disrepair.

Phase 2B seismic upgrade of the station also includes the restoration of the first floor public areas’ finishes to the exact originals  that were lost to the renovations.  All work was done according to historic preservation guidelines established by the Federal Government’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.  When the station opens to the public, visitors will again be dazzled by the charm of the restored main waiting room.  The finishes portion of the project accounts for less than 13% of the total station rehabilitation budget.

Terrazzo floors are being cleaned and restored to original condition.

Click here to view more photos of finish work

3/26 New photos online - Clock tower work

click to view larger
Welder works at top of tower’s 10th floor.

Click here to view more photos of clock tower work


The installation of seismic steel to strengthen the historic train station is a significant part of the project’s construction costs.  Out of the $55 million project budget, 42% is being spent on steel to protect the station during an earthquake.  

Sixty-Five piles weighing 96 tons were installed inside and outside of the station.  These piles were tied into rebar cages inside the new foundation slabs.  Inside the station, 1,345 tons of steel have been installed.  These include new columns inserted into the perimeter walls on both sides of the brick-covered historic columns along with high strength grout and new steel wall plating, box columns of plate iron that reinforces the existing structural interior columns, and new beams and diaphragm bracing that have been welded to the original steel structure.  New shear walls have been added on multiple sides of the main waiting room. Steel floor plates have been added on levels two and three for additional wall and floor strengthening.  In the clock tower, parts of the floor on level nine have to be demolished so rusted steel beams can be replaced by new ones.  The entire clock tower is also receiving new cross bracing as well as new columns on all corners as indicated on photos below. Click to view larger images.

Ceiling in 1906 was not gold; when fully restored, ceiling and walls will be off-white.

Plaster molds have been moved to workshop on 2nd floor.

Plasterers set piece at balcony level on north wall.

Plasterer in cowboy hardhat is said to be a ‘legend’ in the trade.

Rubber mold is floppy, tough and almost indestructible.

Looking east in lobby from 2nd floor balcony.

Historic tiles - broken long ago - are being reinstalled exactly as broken. Gaps will be infilled.

Marble is installed along the base first.   

Marble installation on west wall of lobby.

Along west wall of lobby, historically damaged tiles were salvaged and are now being reinstalled.


Historic steel framing is revealed after partial demolition in NW corner of lobby

New steel is hoisted up hole in tower starting on 3rd floor.

Shear bracing along C-line tops out on 3rd floor, extending to attic level above.

New structural steel in NW corner of lobby

Steel column will be hoisted on back wall via cable & pullies & pneumatic “air tugger” on right.

Looking SE in lobby at the plasterer’s working area.

Workers remove rubber mold from large piece of replicated plaster.

East wall of lobby with plasterer’s workshop in foreground

South wall of lobby as viewed from balcony

Tabletop of plasterers’ workbench

At ceiling level of north lobby, temporarily raised floor allows easy access for plaster restoration.

Plasterers turn around mold & plaster for disassembly.

Removing the structural backing from the rubber mold is the easy part.

Complicated shapes like these are the most difficult to strip.

Plasterers struggle to remove tough rubber mold from crevasses of new piece.

Tables in the plasterers’ workshop are built strong to support people too.

This complex piece is almost perfect, needing just one small patch.


Fraco scaffolding is moved at midnight.

New steel is hoisted up tower in SW corner.

#1 Plasterer prepares to remove backing for new plaster piece.

#2  Golden rubber mold is revealed beneath the backing.

#3   A perfectly replicated piece is revealed as the mold is stripped away

Plasterers make measurements at balcony level.

Plaster mock-up bay is underway on east wall of lobby.

New steel shear wall is in place on west side of lobby.

New plaster columns are installed on south wall of lobby.

Fraco scaffolding has been moved indoors for plasterers’ platform.

Plasterers’ workspace atop scaffolding, as viewed from balcony.

Plasterers at work atop scaffolding along south wall of lobby.

New structural steel ascends tower through 7th floor in NE corner.

New steel shear wall is almost finished along the north/south C-line.

At SW corner of 9th floor of tower, floor is partially demolished so rusted original steel beams can be replaced.

New plaster patches cover holes made for wires to hang a false ceiling in the 1960s.

Plasterers remove rubber mold from new replicated piece.

Lots of new steel is going in at NW corner of lobby near the tower base.


Plasterers above & an ironworker below

The Compass Room is temporarily a plaster workshop. Hot air fills the room to speed up the drying of the new paster pieces.

Steel plates provide structural diaphragm bracing on 2nd floor.

Ironworker trims steel floor plate to make a better fit.

Structural steel retrofit of the lobby is in full swing.

Steel plate shear wall is being built along the lobby “C-Line.”

Plaster restoration is by EverGreene Architectural Arts of New York City.

Ironworkers work from four lifts along north wall of lobby.

Ironworkers & plasterers share the skies of the King Street Station lobby.

Green rubber mold was made from original plaster piece in foreground


Plasterer patches lobby ceiling.

Ironworkers tug a piece of plate steel to box up an historic structural column.

Plasterer pulls back rubber “mother mold”
to reveal replicate piece.

Backside of mold for plaster is layered thick with rubber for extra support

Brick masons ride Fraco lift to 11th floor at midnight.

Temporary shoring for balcony.

Ironworkers have plenty of shop space on the lobby floor.


Reinforcing of tower cross bracing starts at center on north wall of 4th floor.

Air tugger pulls up steel on floor below with cables & pulleys. It's powered by compressed air.

Elevation view of lobby’s south wall with structural wall plating installed.

Yellow hose vents dust as worker pours grout into mixer.

Painters remove chemical strips after ‘absorbing’ the lead tetroxide of red lead paint.

Plaster samples removed earlier in the year have been returned to the site for making replicas.    

All plaster seen here will be restored in place and infilled with replicated pieces.  

Rebar in foreground is headed straight back for matt foundation at SW corner of tower base.  

Plasterer prepares historic piece for replication by rubber mold.

Orange & green triangle is surveyor’s reference point for lobby measurements.  


Structural wall plating is installed in SE corner of lobby.

Plasterers on high lift patch holes in lobby ceiling.

Holes in old ceiling were made in 1960’s to hang false ceiling, which was removed in 2010.

Historic floor beams on 3rd floor are being exposed so steel Nelson studs can be welded on.

Tube steel on floor will be installed vertically in cuts along the walls in SE corner of 3rd floor.

Glazier preps window for painters on east wall of 2nd floor. 

NW corner of lobby at night 

Structural steel wall plates are now installed at four columns along east wall.

Rodbusters check plans before installing more rebar in NE corner of lobby.

Structural retrofit in progress on east wall of lobby.
 At center, two new steel columns are in place and fully grouted on either side of brick-covered historic column.

Ring beam pour at SW corner of building.

South wall of lobby
Wall plating is lifted into place by an air tugger on the floor above.

South face of tower
Horizontal cuts are made to inspect & possibly repair the steel supporting bricks.     

On Fraco scaffolding on north side of tower. For safety reasons most of the tower brickwork is done late at night.

On Fraco scaffolding on east side of tower

East wall of lobby at night
Wooden formwork holds grout used to infill around new steel. When finished, steel wall plates will be welded on, as at center.


Painter whites out black steel.

On east wall of lobby, all windows are revealed after protective plywood was temporarily removed so stone masons could make measurements.

Grade beam construction continues on west side of lobby.

Historic cast iron, painted yellow, has a new neighbor: a box column of plate iron that reinforces the existing structural column.

Excavation near east wall for a concrete pile cap.

Morning light in the SE quadrant of the lobby.

White paint delineates new structural steel added to west wall of 2nd floor. Note tie in to historic beam in ceiling.

New steel column is lifted into place by an “air tugger” on the floor above.

At south wall of lobby, column on floor was tugged vertically into place on the following day.

Scaffolding at mid level for brick inspection

Ironworker & new steel on 3rd floor seismic shear strength.

Carpenters build vertical forms for grout columns adjacent to new steel.


On 10th floor of tower, carpenters built stairs to open windows so stone masons can easily access exterior scaffolding.

Scaffolding platform at 10th floor on the east side.

Graveyard Shift: Brickies on 10th floor prepare to access exterior scaffolding for a night’s work.

NW corner of tower with Fraco scaffolding.
At 10th floor workers board scaffolding platform, which then rises to 11th floor where they work on restoring the terra cotta underneath the yellow tarp.


Terra cotta removed from 11th floor exterior is stored temporarily on 10th floor.


Vertical part of grade beam remains inside the building.

Horizontal part of grade beam extends outside the building. 

I’m not the only one watching the ironworkers install a grade beam in SW corner of lobby.

At SW corner of lobby, ironworkers prepare to lower grade beam into trench, then ‘slide’ it out hole in lower right.

Lobby window in upper right is temporarily filled with plexiglass; adjacent window is wide open. 

On south lobby wall, historic columns are prepped for reinforcement with new steel.

Plexiglass window infills on south wall (upper right) throw sunlight across entire lobby.

Dramatic lighting in King Street Station lobby is caused by temporary plexiglass windows.

Temporary bracings for exterior Fraco scaffolding tie into center column on 10th floor.

Demolition worker dumps wheelbarrow of debris into scoop of Bobcat on 2nd floor.

Orange-painted “trip hazard” on 5th floor is bracing for exterior scaffolding on east wall.

Steel bracing for exterior scaffolding is completed on 5th floor.

Temporary structural bracing is under construction to support scaffolding on outside of tower

Temporary structural bracing is under construction to support scaffolding on outside of tower.  

Temporary structural bracing is in place to support Fraco scaffolding on exterior of tower.

Temporary structural bracing for exterior scaffolding on south (left) and north sides join at the center column.

Fraco scaffolding will rise from 5th to 10th floor on north & south sides

Steel structure at 5th floor will support Fraco scaffolding to top of 10th floor.

Temporary steel structure emerges at 5th floor to support Fraco scaffolding.

Tiles slabs in wooden crates came from right edge of photo.  

At west side of lobby, some mosaic tiles have been salvaged for reinstallation after seismic steel retrofit.

Workers tape up tile storage crates near NW corner of lobby.   

Salvaged tiles are stored in wooden crates.

Ironworker operating red winch plays key role in hoisting steel moment frame on 2nd floor.

Steel moment frame is hoisted into place on 2nd floor with winches and muscle.

Painter moves cart on 2nd floor past steel moment frames which he had spray painted earlier.

To bust up concrete, demolition worker uses a “rivet buster,” a tool originally designed to break off steel rivets.

At north side of lobby, ironworkers prepare to hoist steel plate to box up historic column.  

Democon is the demolition contractor for Phase 2b of the building's rehabilitation.

Remote controlled “Mini-Max” is the workhorse of the demolition crew.

Lobby view to SW from 2nd floor balcony

Select interior demolition in main waiting room

SE corner of the lobby.  The ornate ceiling will be refurbished.

Mini-Max operator uses other hand to spray down dust.

Celing and balcony at north side of lobby. 
Original structural steel columns are revealed after theirs coats of decorative plaster & concrete were removed.  New Steel will be added to strengthen the columns, then new plaster and marble finishes will be installed.

King Street Station lobby after much of the interior demolition has been completed.

Cast plaster seen here will be preserved in place and fully restored.

In blue lift ironworker builds steel plate box to reinforce historic column.  On right lead paint is abated using chemical strips.  No dust is created.

West side of lobby after partial demolition

New temporary seating area behind white wall opens in late May. Photo: John Stamets

Structural moment frame is ready for installation in NW corner of 2nd floor. Photo: John Stamets

Protective plastic is for dust control at base of tower on 3rd floor. Photo: John Stamets

Installing replica of historic lamp Photo: John Stamets

Red lead paint (orange) is partially abated at column F21 on 3rd floor. Photo: John Stamets

Some of the red lead paint was removed with the "Peel Away" technique. Photo: John Stamets

Slideshow: Ornamental Plaster Repairs

Phase 2B: Seismic Retrofit Slideshow August 23, 2012


Click for larger image

Clock Tower Lighting Upgrade

Lighting improvements

King Street Station Roof Tiles
King Street Station Roof Tiles

King Street Station Clock Tower Glass Tiles
King Street Station Clock Tower Glass Tiles


4.24.2013 Waiting Room Opening

4/10/13 Ornamental Plaster Work Progress 3.25.2013


4/10/13 Ornamental Plaster Work Progress 3.25.2013

3.7.2013 Stairway, 2nd floor Corridor and Plaster Restoration Progress

1.16.2012 Plaster & Seismic Work Progress

12.24.2012 Waiting Room Work Progress

12.21.2012 Level 2 & 3 Construction Progress


1.16.2012 Plaster & Seismic Work Progress


10.27.2012 Ornamental Plaster Restoration Part 1

Evergeene Architectural Arts is responsible for the station ornamental plaster restoration work. All of the work is done on site.  Numerous methods are being used to create different ornamental details. The primary goal is to create all of the molds necessary to cast new plaster details for section replacement; rather than cumbersome and time consuming repair patches.  

Original pieces shown in this room was used to make matching molds for repairs. Puncture holes from the suspended drop ceilings are reinforced and patched in place.  Round exploration holes cut into the ceiling allow experts to analyze the original plaster condition. It also serves as future mounting attachment points for new plaster or repaired plaster work. Ornamental plaster restoration work is expected to complete by Spring of 2013.

10.27.2012 Ornamental Plaster Restoration Part 2

Mold forms sometimes have to be created from scratch when an original piece is not available. Other times a large removed original section with damages could be repaired prior to mold casting. Molds can also be made directly on an original piece in place. The ultimate goal is to create a rubber mold to use for future plaster replications.

10.27.2012 Ornamental Plaster Restoration Part 3

The low viscosity of the green Vytaflex allows it to be brush on and flows into small complex details. A hard plaster back is also required to hold the flexible rubber mold shape during future casting. Without the structural plaster supporting back the Vytaflex rubber will bend out of shape during casting. Removing the green Vytaflex could be a very difficult task for extra large pieces during the initial mold castings. However, future replication casting using the Vytaflex mold is much easier due to non-stick chemical applications.

10.27.2012 Ornamental Plaster Restoration Part 4

Once a Vytaflex mold is created, it can be use for the reproduction of hundreds of pieces. Chemical reactions initiates when casting plaster is mixed with tap water. The artisan must apply the plaster within 15 minutes before the plaster harden. A layer of hemp is added for additional tensile strength. The plaster is very warm to the touch and chemical vapors can be seen while the plaster is curing.


Video: 8.30.12 Ring Beam Rebar & Electrical Conduit Installation

9.5.2012 Ring Beam SOG Casting

Video: August 22, 2012 King Street Station Seismic Steel Installation Part 1


Video: August 22, 2012 King Street Station Seismic Steel Installation Part 1

King St.Station Rehabilitation Project: Station & Clock Tower
Select Demolition and Steel Installation July 27, 2012

King Street Station Rehabilitation Project:
Station and Clock Tower Select Demolition & Steel Installation Part 2 7/18/2012

Video: King Street Station Rehabilitation Project:
Seismic Retrofit and Main Hall Select Demolition Video 6/15/2012

Video: King Street Station Rehabilitation Project:
Main Hall, Select Demolition Photos 6/11/2012

Seattle Channel Video: Station History & Restoration Plans

Video: Before and After photos

King Street Station Grand Stair Preview

Video: Jackson Street Plaza Opening 6/24/2011

King Street Station Rehabilitation Project:
Terminal level 5/18/2011

Jackson Plaza April Reconstruction Update:
Jackson Plaza from below

A Closer Look:
Jackson Street Plaza and Plants, April 2011

A Look inside the 3rd Floor, April 2011

Raising the New Jackson Street Plaza

Video Tour of Construction

Clock Restarting Event 9/01/09

Mural design for construction fence (pdf)

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