Seattle's City Halls Supplimental Materials

R. H. Thompson's Report

In Thomson’s 1906 Annual Report, he stated ". . . one of the imperative needs of the city, is a new City Hall. Civic pride should have condemned the building in which we now are housed some years ago, and the failure of our citizens to arise as one man and insist upon the construction of a new city building is a reflection upon our citizenship."

The new building, he said, will not have room for any departments other than Health and Police, "and the present city officers will be compelled to remain where they are, in the shabby, unsanitary, and, from a fire point of view, almost criminally unsafe, building." "In carrying on the work for the city during the past year [1905], this department, in common with every other department, has been greatly handicapped by the lack of room; and, at the present time, one of the imperative needs of the city, is a new City Hall. Civic pride should have condemned the building in which we now are housed some years ago, and the failure of our citizens to arise as one man and insist upon the construction of a new city building is a reflection upon our citizenship. There is now being constructed a most beautiful and most substantial building…It is perfectly evident, however, that by the time the Health and Police Departments have properly housed themselves in that building, with their necessary appurtenances, there will be no room for any other department and the present city officers will be compelled to remain where they are, in the shabby, unsanitary, and, from a fire point of view, almost criminally unsafe, building."

1906 Engineering Department Annual Report
Unrecorded Subject Files (2602-02)
Seattle Municipal Archives


Mayor Gill's Proposal

In his Annual Message dated January 23, 1911, Mayor Gill proposed a City Hall at Third and Yesler:

Mayor Hiram Gill
Mayor Hiram Gill
Seattle Municipal Archives item no. 12278

"The most serious situation which confronts the city today is the matter of a city hall…At the present time we have no city hall. The building which we now occupy was erected from the proceeds of a bond issue voted by the people of this city solely and only for the purpose of erecting a public hospital, jail, police court and police headquarters building . . . At the present time the municipal hospital is overcrowded and cramped, the jail is frequently over-crowded, and the police headquarters in the basement are becoming rapidly too small . . .

"I earnestly recommend that at the earliest possible moment you submit to the people of this city the question of the voting of the sum of $500,000 to be used for the erection of a building of the sky-scraper type, on the old city hall site at Third Avenue and Yesler Way. I would recommend that the foundations and structure be carried to such a height as will care for all of our present necessities. This building then at some future time could be reared to such a height as might be necessary . . .

"Should it be deemed wise to cover the whole of the block between Third and Fourth Avenues, Yesler Way and Jefferson Streets at some future time, then the building can be easily planned as a detached part of the future whole."

Hiram Gill Annual Message, 1910
Mayor's Messages (1802-C2), Seattle Municipal Archives