King Street Station (Seattle): Wikis


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King Street Station, Seattle
King Street Station (Seattle) 2005 05 23.jpg
View from southeast, city skyline in background
Station statistics
Address 303 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, Washington 98104
Coordinates 47°35′55″N 122°19′48″W / 47.5985°N 122.3299°W / 47.5985; -122.3299Coordinates: 47°35′55″N 122°19′48″W / 47.5985°N 122.3299°W / 47.5985; -122.3299
Lines Amtrak Services:

     Cascades      Coast Starlight      Empire Builder Sounder Commuter Rail:      North Line

     South Line
Connections Link Light Rail (International District-Chinatown Station)

     Central Link

King County Metro
Sound Transit Express
Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach
Northwestern Trailways
Platforms bay, side, island
Tracks 6
Parking Yes; paid
Baggage check Yes
Other information
Opened May 1906
Rebuilt ongoing
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Code SEA
Owned by City of Seattle
Passengers (FY2009) 615,735 0.2% (Amtrak)
Preceding station   Amtrak   Following station
Coast Starlight Terminus
toward Eugene
Terminus Empire Builder
toward Chicago
Sounder Commuter Rail
Terminus North Line
toward Everett
South Line Terminus

King Street Station is a train station in Seattle, Washington. Located between S. King and S. Jackson Streets and 2nd and 4th Avenues S. in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle, the station is just south of downtown. King Street station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

The station is served by Amtrak Cascades, Empire Builder, and Coast Starlight lines and by Sound Transit's Sounder commuter trains. In 2008, Amtrak ridership totaled 774,421 boardings. For the first 9 months of 2006, Sounder service boarded almost 1.2 million passengers at King Street Station.[1]



Built between 1904 and 1906 by the Great Northern Railway and Northern Pacific Railway, the station replaced an antiquated station on Railroad Avenue, today's Alaskan Way. Designed by the firm of Reed and Stem of St. Paul, Minnesota, who acted as associate architects for the design of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, the station was part of a larger project that moved the mainline away from the waterfront and into a 5,245 foot (1,590 m) tunnel under downtown.[2][3] The depot's 242 foot tower was modeled after Campanile di San Marco in Venice, Italy,[4] making it the tallest building in Seattle at the time of its construction. This tower contained four huge mechanical clock faces offering the time to each of the four cardinal directions. Later, this tower also served as a microwave tower for the Burlington Northern Railroad, the successor of both the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railroads, which occupied the second and third floors of the station, now deserted.

Over the years, remodeling has concealed the station's original interior. The ornate ceiling of the main waiting room, and a balcony and second level arcade were hidden by a lower dropped ceiling. The waiting room was walled off and marble was removed from columns. A grand staircase linking South Jackson Street with the west entrance was reduced to half its original size, and an addition was constructed on the west elevation of the building that was not in keeping with the building's architecture.

From a practical standpoint, the station is close to downtown. However, unlike cities such as Boston, it is not near the intercity bus terminal, although the station is under a block from the International District/ Chinatown Station of the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. What appears to be an upper entrance is not used. The main entrance on the first floor is at a dead-end road, rather than providing a loop.



View of suspended ceiling scheduled for removal with restored ceiling beyond

Plans are underway to restore the entire building to its former prominence. Cosmetic renovations began in 2003. As part of these renovations the Compass Room and restrooms were refurbished, and the exterior awnings were replaced. New mahogany entry doors and wood framed windows were installed in the waiting room and Compass Room. New brass door hardware and reproduction period light fixtures and plaster decorative work were included to reproduce the former character of the station's interior.[5]

In November 2006, the office of Seattle mayor Greg Nickels announced a preliminary agreement between the City of Seattle and BNSF Railway to purchase the station for $1. The Seattle City Council formalized the agreement by passing legislation in December 2006.[6] The deal, revised to $10, was signed on March 5, 2008.[7] The purchase by the city freed up US$19 million of state and federal funds that can be used for further restoration of the station. The city has earmarked a further US$10 million for the restoration as part of a recently passed local transportation levy.[8]

In 2008, the clocks in the clock tower were repaired,[9] and the old microwave antennas were removed.[10] Repair work to the exterior continues as of May 2009. [11]


Restored Compass Room

King Street Station is a red brick masonry building with terra cotta and cast stone ornamentation. The building is L-shaped with the clock tower marking the main entry on the west facade.[4] The clock tower and main entry terminate the axis of King Street in Pioneer Square.

Inside the main entry, at the base of the clock tower, is the entry hall, known as the Compass Room. The name references the navigational star compass rose design laid out in hand-cut marble tiles on the floor at its center.[5] The Compass Room has marble wainscotting, and is lighted by a multi-globe chandelier suspended above the compass rose from an elaborate plaster rosette. Triple globe wall sconces around the perimeter illuminate a band of inlaid green iridescent glass tile on the walls. Circular clerestory windows are trimmed in plaster relief decoration.

Passenger Service

Currently King St. Station has 21 daily train departures:

Notable places nearby


Notes and references

  1. ^ Riley, Kate (2006-12-17). "Crowning the King". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  2. ^ Schwantes, Carlos (1993). Railroad Signatures across the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press. pp. 226. ISBN 0295975350. 
  3. ^ "King Street Station--Seattle, Washington: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary". National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  4. ^ a b Seattle Historical Society (March 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory -- Nomination Form" (PDF). National Park Service, Department of Interior. Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  5. ^ a b "Seattle, WA - Great American Stations". Amtrak. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  6. ^ "Seattle City Ordinance, No. 122312". Office of City Clerk, City of Seattle. 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  7. ^ Lindblom, Mike (2008-03-05). "New round of fixes for King Street Station". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  8. ^ Young, Bob (2006-11-21). "$1 deal struck for King Street Station". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  9. ^ Murakami, Kery (2008-10-28). "No Parking Anytime: Time no longer frozen on King Street Station clocks". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  10. ^ City of Seattle (2008-10-21). "Antenna Mast Removed from Historic King Street Station". Press release. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  11. ^ Bundridge, Brian (2009-03-04). "King Street Station Updates". Seattle Transit Blog. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 

External links


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