September 28, 2012 at 9:35 PM
Reaching for the sky, long before the Needle
Sketched Sept. 12, 2012
The recent growth of Seattle may be remembered for a downtown-building boom spurred by Amazon. Flash back 100 years to learn about another type of building boom, when it was churches popping up within months of each other as the population reached more than 300,000 in the years following the Gold Rush.
Seattle First Baptist at the corner of Harvard Avenue and Seneca Street celebrated the 100th anniversary of its 1912 sanctuary last Sunday. With a price tag of $150,000, it was one of the most expensive projects of the time, said church administrator Bob Sittig, who has compiled the history of the sanctuary into a 36-page booklet of historical photos and news clippings.
Sittig, who is always willing to give a tour to passers-by, said the building has weathered the years well. Except for terra-cotta pinnacles that were replaced with fiberglass replicas after the 2001 quake (when one pinnacle went through the roof), the exterior hasn’t changed much. Its main feature is a majestic steeple typical of English gothic medieval architecture that rises 16 stories — one of few in Seattle so prominent, and so old.
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