1892 Pioneer Building in Seattle: how and when was it built?

This is one of the most famous buildings in Seattle, and rightfully so. The structure is pretty stunning. The history of its construction has a bit of a mystery to it. Of course, this mystery is not exactly on the surface for everyone to see. One would have to actually investigate, to see the abnormalities. Let's start with the narrative.

The Pioneer Building
The Pioneer Building is a Richardsonian Romanesque stone, red brick, terra cotta, and cast iron building located on the northeast corner of First Avenue and James Street, in Seattle's Pioneer Square District. Completed in 1892, the Pioneer Building was designed by architect Elmer Fisher, who designed several of the historic district's new buildings following the Great Seattle Fire of 1889.
I could not find a better contemporary image of the Pioneer Building. There will be older photographs down the article, and those, in my opinion, represent this structure much better.


The Pioneer Building is a 94-foot-tall (29 m) symmetrical block, measuring 115 by 111 ft (35 by 34 m). The exterior walls are constructed of Bellingham Bay gray sandstone at the basement and first floor, with red brick on the upper five floors (with the exception of two stone pilasters which extended to the full height of the tower over the main entrance). Spandrel panels and other ornamental elements are terra cotta from Gladding, McBean in California. There are three projecting bays of cast iron, the curved bays at the corner and on the James Street facade, and the angled bay above the main entrance.
  • The building reflects a mix of Victorian and Romanesque Revival influences. The facades, with vertical pilasters and horizontal belt courses creating a grid, reflect Victorian compositional strategies. Details such as the round arches over groups of windows and the arched main entrance and corner entrance are Romanesque Revival elements.
  • The exterior walls are load-bearing, as is the firewall that extends through the building from the street to the alley. The interior structure is cast iron columns and steel beams supporting timber joists. As was typical practice in the period, the office floors were designed and built with permanent partitions forming 185 office rooms -a tenant would simply rent one or more office rooms. Light is provided to the interior through two atria—one in the center of the south portion of the building, the other in the north portion of the building.
  • Constructed at a cost of $270,000, the Pioneer Building was considered one of Seattle's finest post-fire business blocks. It has always been highly visible, forming a portion of one side of Seattle's Pioneer Place Park.
  • The Pioneer Building originally had a seventh floor tower room (with a pyramidal roof) located directly above the front entrance making the building 110 ft (34 m). It was removed as a result of damage caused by the 1949 earthquake.
1888 Seattle PI Article

I think the photograph below represents our building much better than the one above.
c. 1890

Well, this is basically it, as far as available information goes. Everything we have is virtually useless, for it contains no real history. Here are some of the "history" covering links we have:
The Architect
As was stated above, the building was designed by Elmer Fisher. He was born either c. 1840 in Scotland, or c. 1851 in the US. The gentleman supposedly died in 1905. As far as I understand, there is only one photograph of Mr. Fisher, and you can see it below. SH Blog already has an article dedicated to this specific architect:

Please take a look at some of the projects attributed to this gentleman. Check out a different source emphasizing the issue we have with this guy.


Here is the last thing(s) we know about Elmer Fisher:
  • His official date of death as well as his final resting place is unknown.
  • He died in 1905, an architectural draftsman and carpenter.
Yesler-Leary Building
This building should have an article of its own. Yet, for the purposes of this article, we absolutely have to mention it, because up until 1889 it was the most prominent building in Seattle. This building will allow us to cover the area where the Pioneer Building will later stand.

c. 1887

Here is one additional view of this Yesler-Leary Building:
c. 1885

this is a turntable for the tram cars

SF turntable example

If we were to believe the Seattle Public Library we have the following narrative compliant data for the Yesler-Leary Building:
  • Built: 1883
  • Destroyed: 1889
    • The Yesler-Leary Building burned down in the Great Seattle Fire of 1889
Some Yesler-Leary Building links:
The Great Seattle Fire of 1889
The Great Seattle Fire was a fire that destroyed the entire central business district of Seattle, Washington on June 6, 1889. The conflagration lasted for less than a day, burning through the afternoon and into the night, and during the same summer as the Great Spokane Fire and the Great Ellensburg Fire. Seattle quickly rebuilt using brick buildings that sat 20 feet (6.1 m) above the original street level. Its population swelled during reconstruction, becoming the largest city in the newly admitted state of Washington.
Yesler-Leary Building in 1889







I was struggling to find a better post-fire view North from the Pioneer Square on the 1st Avenue. That's because it used to have a different name in 1889. Apparently it was called Front Street. Anyways, here is the direction we need.
north on 1st ave.jpg

Below we have a photograph covering the direction indicated by the above arrows. I believe the photograph was taken slightly south of 1st Ave and Marion street intersection.

Essentially, the entire area got annihilated. The below map of the 1889 Great Seattle Fire could have a better resolution, but you get an idea.
  • #3: Yesler-Leary Building
  • #4: Occidental Hotel
  • Full Map

As the story goes, Seattle quickly rebuilt using brick buildings that sat 20 feet above the original street level. Help yourself.
Construction of the Pioneer Building
From the official narrative we know that the Great Seattle Fire happened on 06/06/1889. From the same narrative we get statements similar to the below ones:
  • By the time the fire swept through the city, the foundation for the new Pioneer Building had already been excavated.
  • The ensuing construction boom slowed the completion of the Pioneer Building.
  • When it was completed in 1892, the beautiful building of red brick and terra cotta was arguably the finest "fireproof" Richardsonian-Romanesque designs created by architect Elmer H. Fisher.
  • Source
Construction Photographs
I was real surprised to find photographs resembling the construction. Well, may be they do demonstrate construction processes utilized in 1890's, I do not know for sure.
  • Photographs are zoomable at their source.
  • In the below photographs, we are looking North on 1st Ave aka Front street, and the photographer was more or less on top of the Pioneer Square. Naturally, we are seeing 1st Avenue North from the Pioneer Square.
  • The Pioneer Building is being built in the right.
The images are dated with c. 1890. Remember what the area looked like some time on, or after 06/06/1889.

#1: 1st Ave., looking north from Pioneer Square, ca. 1890.
  • Shows Merchants National Bank and the Starr-Boyd Building to the left, Pioneer Building under construction on the right.
c. 1890
1st Ave., looking north from Pioneer Square, ca. 1890- 1.jpg

#2: 1st Ave., looking north from Pioneer Square, ca. 1890
  • Handwritten on verso: Pioneer Square under construction.
1st Ave., looking north from Pioneer Square, ca. 1890- 2.jpg

Several Zoom-ins





In reference to the above c. 1890 photographs:
  1. There appears to be no issues photographing in motion in 1890.
  2. This entire area was annihilated on 06/06/1889.
    • Surrounding structures do not look brand new to me.
  3. The Pioneer Building being built on the right. Is this what a superfast construction process should look like?
I know that I have repeated this many times already. Per the narrative, this entire area was destroyed by an alleged urban fire on 06/06/1889.


#1: Under what circumstances could we have the below:


#2: How was this 1890 magazine possible?


KD: I think there is something seriously wrong with this entire story line. Prior to 1889, cities in this area chose not to burn. Then year 1889 decided to visit the Washington Territory:
The Pioneer Building:
  • When do you think it was built?
  • Was the above presented construction real, or staged?
Photographs to examine:
Please share your opinion on the above.
KD, great thought provoking content as always. I think that this seems very strange that there are such works of art and architecture that seems to defy our current abilities and even our (the majority's) wildest desires. Many people cannot imagine such a work of art. Much less draw it and then engineer the strengths required using paper and lead? The building is impressive with excellent use of materials, where they were sourced from we might never know since the guy that did it has been erased from the books.

This brings me to stories I've heard, mainly from Hollywood. lets dive into this Hollywood, for a second. Silver screen magic and plain ol' magic have a historical marriage but what is Hollywood? Hollywood was used by the “Druid” magical practitioner as a wand to focus powerful wishes. This historical reference for Druidism is wide and vast with deep roots into our culture. What does this mean? It means that a large bit of our traditional customs come from paganism and we go along with it like it doesn’t matter it is a part of witchcraft. Does LA generate ideas and stories or do they replay them? Or is it a hodgepodge of both?

This brings me to what could of happened in my resonate thoughts with this article your ave pieced together. #1-Jupiter Ascending (2015), good movie like the story line and have always been very skeptical about the biblical 'harvest'. This story-line puts together a great theory on how it might be actually playing out. Heck we might be a crop of dumb animals that every 1k years we get harvested, or killing storm? Who can say? Though it does appear that some good looking architecture has been around for a while. Almost in clean cut epochs, ugas, or phases.

One thing that has always stuck with me is when James T. Kirk met a being claiming to be god. He asked "Why would God need a spaceship?". Which immediately rolled up 10 year old mind so fast, my memory like a old pull-to-roll up blind flapping. Your right captain. Indeed, furthermore, why would he need a book?

I DIGRESS, back on point. Either it is ancient aliens, natural disasters, pan or PLANdemics, solar storms that generate mile wide lighting strikes (lol like "Oops my finger slipped!" - Bart Simpson:) There have irrefutably been catastrophe that has escaped the history books. At least the ones that we know of that don't simply say 'big water' did it.

There is another more fun possibility that has been intriguing my idle mind. Conscious able to change the past. Pictures taken don't erase like in Back 2 the Future!?!

I have been reading some channelings. Seth Speaks is the more recent one. I have found this to run inline with some of the theories in the text. So, I figured I'd share the general theory of time summarized by a Andy Hughes, Purdue back in 2004 (excerpt below).

Time as you experience it is an illusion caused by your own physical senses. They force you to perceive action in certain terms, but this is not the nature of action.

The apparent boundaries between past, present and future are only illusions caused by the amount of action you can physically perceive, and so it seems to you that one moment exists and is gone forever, and the next moment comes and like the one before also disappears. Everything in the universe exists at one time simultaneously.

The first words ever spoken still ring through the universe, and in your terms, the last words ever spoken have already been said. The past, present and future only appear to those who exist within three-dimensional reality.

The past exists as a series of electromagnetic connections held in the physical brain and in the nonphysical mind.

These electromagnetic connections can be changed.

The future consists of a series of electromagnetic connections in the mind and brain also. In other words, the past and present are real to the same extent.

You take it for granted that present action can change the future, but present actions can also change the past.

The past is no more objective or independent from the perceiver than is the present. The electromagnetic connections were largely made by the individual perceiver. The connection can be changed, and such changes are far from uncommon. These changes happen spontaneously on a subconscious basis.

The past is seldom what you remember it to be, for you have already rearranged it from the instant of any given event. The past is being constantly re-created by each individual as attitudes and associations change. This is an actual recreation, not a symbolic one. The child is indeed still within the man, but he is not the child that "was", for even the child within the man constantly changes.

Difficulties arise when such alterations do not occur automatically. Severe neurosis is often caused precisely because an individual has not changed his past.

A change of attitude, a new association, or any of innumerable other actions will automatically set up new electromagnetic connections and break others.

Every action changes every other action. Therefore, every action in your present affects actions you call past.

It is possible to react in the past to an event that has not occurred, and to be influenced by your own future.

It is also possible for an individual to react in the past to an event in the future, which in your terms, may never occur.

Because past, present and future exist simultaneously, there is no reason why you cannot react to an event whether or not it happens to fall within the small field of reality in which you usually observe and participate.

On a subconscious level, you react to many events that have not yet occurred as far as your ego's awareness is concerned.

Such reactions are carefully screened out and not admitted to consciousness. The ego finds such instances distracting and annoying, and when forced to admit their validity, will resort to the most far fetched rationalizations to explain them.

No event is predestined. Any given event can be changed not only before and during but after its occurrence.

The individual is hardly at the mercy of past events, for he changes them constantly. He is hardly at the mercy of future events, for he changes these not only before but after their happening. An individuals future actions are not dependent upon a concrete finished past, for such a past never existed.

The past is as real as the future, no more or less.

There is a part of you that is not locked within physical reality, and that part of you knows that there is only an Eternal Now. The part of you that knows is the whole self, your inner and outer ego (all that you are).

From within this framework you will see that see that physical time is as dreamlike as you once thought inner time was. You will discover your whole self, peeping inward and outward at the same "time", and find that all time is one time, and all divisions, illusions.
Another interesting thing that I have stumbled across if you are still entertained. Looking for more information on this fringe stuff. Check out this CIA document on “Analysis and Assessment of Gateway Process”. Thanks for the time and keep up the great work KD! Message me for any questions you might have.
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That’s an interesting take on this. I’m more on a physically ascertainable side of things at this point.

I’m exploring a possibility of the 19th century not being exactly 100 years long.

Additionally, things, in my opinion, were a bit more dependent on a higher than we are allowed to see technology. And if that’s the case, why aren’t we allowed to see it?
I bet there is a link to a piece of legislation and the fire, conveniently pre written to implement the day after, also the fire on 6/6.

Those big old blocks on the floor at pioneer square look like the would crush those wooden wagons, also looks like the tried to extinguish the fire with dynamite!

Some little tidbits here,

Fire and Gold Build Seattle
That’s an interesting take on this. I’m more on a physically ascertainable side of things at this point.

I’m exploring a possibility of the 19th century not being exactly 100 years long.

Additionally, things, in my opinion, were a bit more dependent on a higher than we are allowed to see technology. And if that’s the case, why aren’t we allowed to see it?
I also have been more focused on higher technology than we are allowed to see. I might write something up on my findings soon. The technology though, might be sourced from placed laws and religions have created and continued to specifically forbear. So to keep it to themselves, as the 5 I's unofficial motto would be "There is no intelligence, without counterintelligence." ;)

Plus, Hey, I'm friggen Cornelius! KD, we're both from the 5th Element Universe. Technology played a role in it, but was not the focus. Maybe the genius, blockbuster, or cult following of it was the entire theme, possibly a shared species memory?
I’m exploring a possibility of the 19th century not being exactly 100 years long.
I think this is a possibility... or slightly different, perhaps the world was not on the same timeline for quite awhile. I mean, this seems fairly obvious... it's not 2021 everywhere on Earth even currently, so imagine how difficult synchronization would be in a time period where mass world communication was much more limited.

In this particular case, though, for this particular building... I'm not sure how either scenario would really come into play. Unless a year or month was much longer back then, it seems like the most likely explanation would be the "hidden tech" angle. Unless you think that all newspapers and other contemporary sources were complete fiction (or planted after the fact)... and I personally don't. I might be wrong, but I tend to think it worked a bit like today, with the media presenting a version of the truth, based on some actual events. The context is usually what is changed. That said, I wish I had a sense of what the average person thought of newspapers back around the turn of the 20th century...

And in theory, nearly everyone was reading them. I was somewhat shocked to find that supposedly the literacy rate in 1900 in the US was about 90%. The link below has the stats and a reminder that it's really post Civil War that the US government really started to entrain the population in the methods used until recently (namely, mandatory schooling).
Honestly, it's all just very confusing. Construction photos are always uninspiring, but the destruction photos tend to look legit. So it seems someone rebuilt something at some point... but the speed of the rebuilding just completely stretches credibility. I can see why more esoteric explanations may be favored, but I doubt anyone can ever present anything empirical and objective in that regard... it's antithetical to its very nature.

Which brings us back to:
Additionally, things, in my opinion, were a bit more dependent on a higher than we are allowed to see technology. And if that’s the case, why aren’t we allowed to see it?
It really is one of the biggest questions in this. You'd think any PTB would want to flaunt this technology, to show their power... the only thing I can think of is that if you see how the magic trick works, then you can do it yourself. So, perhaps whatever it was that allowed this sort of fast construction is actually so simple that if they showed it, then it could be easily replicated by the masses. Or the mechanism behind the technology has larger applications that would subvert the power that the elites wish to maintain. But there I go, stumbling back to esoteric ideas...
Unless you think that all newspapers and other contemporary sources were complete fiction (or planted after the fact)... and I personally don't.
Please read the below article. You do need to read the entire article to understand that the amount of reported details is absurd. There is no way a newspaper could conduct an investigation of this magnitude that quick.
  • Was this article pre-written?
  • Are they lying in this article?
Kudos goes to the Seattle PI.
  • On 06/07/1889, after their building and all the equipment were destroyed on 06.06.1889, they had enough magic left to produce the entire sequence of events.
  • That's right, the Fire started at 2:15 pm on 06/06/1889, and was out at 3 am on 06/07/1889.
    • By the morning of June 7, the fire had burned 25 city blocks, including the entire business district
  • A few hours later Seattle PI produced this:


With one (wrong guy was blamed) or two minor corrections, this is still our official version of what happened that day/night.
  • If I'm not mistaken, the newspaper claimed that they printed this issue in Tacoma, or something like that.
  • Edit: I was wrong, it was printed on 4th and Columbia in Seattle, while per the article, every single newspaper got eviscerated.
Question: how could they pull it off?
Yes, that article is definitely very suspect. Weird little lie right off the bat too, "No other American city ever suffered a loss so proportionally great." Then they even reference Chicago afterwards!

Sticking with the premise I asserted though and comparing to modern media coverage, it doesn't necessarily mean that because the article is riddled with lies and nonsense that the actual event did not happen when described (doesn't mean it wasn't coordinated either). Passages like this sound like this could be a "catalyzing event", if you take my meaning, for some other agenda:


However, to entertain the option that this event didn't happen when claimed (or at all), the very next section is interesting to me:


Obviously pretty crazy that they could just get up and running the day after but more than that, the newspaper itself says basically that it's not gonna be the same as it was for awhile. Makes sense given the story, but also allows for acceptable deviations in continuity. Meaning, maybe someone at some point later on could have inserted this into the narrative and any discrepancies would be chalked up to the newspaper not being in its usual confines with its standard practices. I discount the possibility that the newspaper could have actually run and distributed this story at the time and no destruction taken place (again, maybe I shouldn't).

This section is really familiar though:


There's plenty of examples of this, but here's one we looked at not that long ago:
Probably should stop building these gigantic buildings then, right?? Doubt that's the sensible course of action that the Post Intelligencer advocated though...

Reading this, it really feels like an actual coordinated event that's trying to be covered up with the beats that it hits. It goes out of the way to address the fact that no one thought first the Opera House and others would burn down (but did), brings up the vast amounts of dynamite and powder used to try and contain the fire by destroying other buildings first (again, not unique to this fire) and in case that doesn't cover all the explosions (gunshots?), some of the buildings had munitions that blew up too, and also offers explanations for hundreds of people tearing down buildings (some by hand?):


All the while the fire just jumps from street to street, dancing it's way along, aided by the conscious wind...

Maybe it was a battle in a war that even people at the time didn't know was going on. Certainly doesn't sound or look like a normal fire... but they never do.
Is there any way to find out if the title holder of the land changed during this consruction/reconstruction or indeed who the title holder was before and after the 'fire'. Insurance details would I suspect be harder to find but possibly worth the effort as they may contain clues that back up or refute the newspaper people's claims.
Maybe it was a battle in a war that even people at the time didn't know was going on. Certainly doesn't sound or look like a normal fire... but they never do.
This is what I’ve been thinking for a very long time.

This newspaper article is as fishy as it gets, imho.

Some parts are priceless.


While the flames are still going, right?

Seattle was sure rebuilt at once.
This speed is one of the reasons why I think that we are not allowed to know about every single year in the 19th century. Well, it’s either that, or tech. But what kind of tech could help out with such productivity?
Is there any way to find out if the title holder of the land changed during this consruction/reconstruction or indeed who the title holder was before and after the 'fire'. Insurance details would I suspect be harder to find but possibly worth the effort as they may contain clues that back up or refute the newspaper people's claims.
Will need to look for that. They claim that at the time of the fire, the foundation of the future pioneer building was already excavated. I don’t know if there was a change of land ownership prior to that.
An election was held to choose 75 delegates to frame a constitution for the State of Washington. The elected delegates assembled on July 4, 1889 in the Territorial Capitol Building in Olympia and labored through the summer to draft a constitution that would form the basis for all future Washington laws. On August 23, 1889, the convention concluded its work. Miles C. Moore, the last governor of Washington Territory, called for an election to be held on October 1, 1889 to ratify the state constitution and elect the officers of the new state government. A vote of 40,152 to 11,879 approved the Washington State Constitution.
Whilst not in Seattle it is maybe just coincidence that this was just two days before said fire.

There was also the K of L, the knights of labours movement that needed nipping in the bud.
Been having a mooch about the interwebs and found this site all the quotes are taken from it. PCAD - Pioneer Building, Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA
I've just recalled viewing the construction photo on the original SH but cannot remember what I wrote there.

Anyway here's the quoted I find interesting and may shed some light on the timeline or not.
Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Anderson, Ralph D., and Partners, Architects (firm); Fisher, Elmer, H., Architect (firm); Ralph Donald Anderson Jr. (architect); Elmer H. Fisher (architect)

Dates: constructed 1889-1891

6 stories, total floor area: 89,355 sq. ft.
The Pioneer Building was erected on the site of Henry Yesler's Sawmill (1853), the most important commercial enterprise of Seattle's earliest days. Erected for pioneer land owner Henry L. Yesler (1810-1892) at the end of his life, this landmark's history intertwined with that of the Klondike Gold Rush; between 1897 (a year after gold was first discovered in the Yukon's Rabbit Creek) and 1908, the Pioneer Building accommodated 48 different mining companies.

In 02/1889, Yesler sold two lots of his land on the southeast corner of South Second Street and Yesler avenue to J.M. Thompson, Fred E. Sander and George M. Boman (perhaps “Bowman”) for $85,000.Part of the sum, $7,500, served as a down payment, with the balance due on 02/01/1890. The incremental financing of this land transaction influenced the incremental building process that Yesler undertook to erect the Pioneer Block, as did the impact of the Seattle Fire of 06/06/1889.
So the land the building sits in was claimed by Henry L Yesler in the mid 1800's so prior to his claim being proven there were no claims in the US records I would assume. I wonder if Yeslers will is available somewhere in Seattle?
On 02/17/1889, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said of the Pioneer Building: “The new Yesler building has been named and will hereafter be known as the Pioneer block in honor of the old and honored residents of Seattle and Puget Sound, not the least prominent of whom is Hon. H.L. Yesler, the builder of the block.
The builder of the block does it mean the owner of the construction company when it says 'builder' or the man who financed the buidling of the block?
Bloody journalists!
The one-story buildings on the inside of the location of the block will be torn down while the two-story structure now on the corner will be moved into their places, where they will remain until the last half of the new block is begun. Next year, when Mr. Yesler receives the final payment on his Yesler avenue lots, sold yesterday, he will begin the work on the last half of the building. Mr. J.D. Lowman, manager for Mr. Yesler, stated last night that no more of his realty will be sold.” (See “The Largest for the Year,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 02/17/1889, p. 5.)
They were clearly stroking Mr Yeslers ego or likely currying favour with him for advertisements etc. Seems the block was built in two phases or maybe the Pioneer building was built in two phases the journalist is ambiguous in his choice of words.
The Pioneer Building's architect, Elmer H. Fisher (1844-c. 1905), designed a high proportion of the buildings in Pioneer Square
Indeed someone did design a lot of buildings in that square cos they all looked the same. May seem churlish but its a bit lazy to my eye as though he was more of a one trick pony architect than a 'celebrated architect'. Though that said I don't doubt those who gained from the construction or whatever 'in society' were celebrating Mr Fishers worrk.
Building Notes

When historic preservation became a hot topic in Seattle, WA, c. 1970, the Pioneer Building was one of the key monuments preservationists aimed to save. It was included in the Pioneer Square-Skid Road Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. The Pioneer Building, along with the Pioneer Square Pergola and the Pioneer Square Totem Pole, were also included in the very select list of National Historic Landmarks, 05/05/1977.

Construction drawings of the Pioneer Building available: Floor plans, elevations, sections, details; medium: ink on linen, paper; Number of sheets: 104; location: University of Washington, Department of Special Collections, M193 folder; ID #73;
So there is an avenue to explore though it does rather sound that it is a boots on the ground sort of job.
I also find it highly suspicious:
  • 6/6/1889 - the Great Seattle Fire
  • 11/11/1889 - Washington became the forty-second state of the United States of America.
At the same time none of this explains how and when the Pioneer Building was built.
It does possibly explain the "why" though. In the way that 9/11 (whatever exactly happened) lead to the War on Terror and further domestic surveillance and restrictions of personal freedom, perhaps the goal here was to, in a mob-shakedown like fashion, have Washington join the United States. The numerology is suspicious and another hallmark of these "false flag" (for lack of a better term) type events. The 6/6 has obvious connotations, from the number of the beast to the London Great Fire, and 11/11 (WW1 also officially ended on 11/11, fwiw) is often referenced in positive terms as a powerful "transformation" or "gateway" to spiritual enlightenment. At least that's what the New Agers claim... wonder what the thinking was back then. I bet these guys would know, as they're really the starting point for the modern New Age movement, which has inarguably deeply penetrated our culture over the last 100 years:
Not to go too far down this rabbit hole, as it is frankly a lifetime of work and there are people far more educated than myself on the matter, but I learned today that one of the founders (not Madame Blavatsky), Civil War veteran Colonel Henry Steel Olcott "served on the three-person team investigating Abraham Lincoln's assassination." What a resume!

Anyway, my point is, whether you or I personally believe in this sort of stuff, it seems to have always had powerful backers. I'm a bit sorry for this somewhat lengthy detour from the specific topic, but I think the ritualistic elements of these major events is a piece of the puzzle that shouldn't be ignored. Also, it's sort of a counterpoint to the speculation based off of channeled material posted above on the nature of time as an explanation for the anomalies we see in the narrative. There's a fairly direct line from organizations like the Theosophical Society to New Age channelers, with plenty of military-intelligence types aiding in its advancement. While I personally don't think it's all "woo-woo", I do also think that such explanations sometimes obscure the actual physical human forces behind events that don't make sense at face value.

Now to drive this back to the precise topic at hand, operating under the assumptions that the timeline for this destruction is correct and that it was a pre-planned "controlled demolition" of sorts, perhaps the replacement "building kits" had already been manufactured and were ready to be assembled immediately after. The fact that we have that 1888 article showing that at least some of the post-destruction plans had been in the works sort of lends credence to this idea.
The Pioneer Building, along with the Pioneer Square Pergola and the Pioneer Square Totem Pole, were also included in the very select list of National Historic Landmarks, 05/05/1977.
Damn it, jd, as I'm trying to get away from the numerology aspect of this, you have to go and post these repeating numbers!

Looking into the Totem Pole a bit more, I've found this reference that needs more digging into (pun intended), in reference to the Pioneer Square area:
A massive street-straightening project in the 1880s led the city to condemn the land, and then turned it into a public square.
I think this seems to tie into the whole regrading business, but the years don't entirely match up:
The more I look, the more convenient the fire seems to be, as it really fit into the rest of the urban development plans.
I don't know when the street level was raised but it looks like before the building was built so why would they build down.
The street level was allegedly raised after the Great Fire of 1889.
  • Seattle quickly rebuilt using brick buildings that sat 20 feet (6.1 m) above the original street level.
  • Source
In other words we cannot be positive that they built down. It would be nice to find a picture of this lot prior to the Pioneer Building related construction activities.

What’s interesting, this same Pioneer Building is the entrance point to the Underground Seattle Tour.
  • They allow you to see a tiny bit, but there is a whole additional level under most of the downtown area.
  • And specifically under the Pioneer Building we have enough brickwork to question the narrative. From what I had a chance to observe, the Pioneer Building was built on top of an older structure.
Some fairly interesting information on Yesler, which seems to sort of contradict some of the information jd posted:

Things finally came to a head in March 1886, when the Yeslers agreed to transfer all their property in trust to James D. Lowman (1856-1947), Henry's nephew from Leitersburg, who had come to Seattle in 1877.
The article also has a story about how Yesler, unable to sell his properties to offset his debt, attempted to hold a lottery to partially finance the building of a new wagon road (to try and skirt around gambling laws), with the top prize being the sawmill.

It was an audacious plan, but it was doomed. The hope of selling 60,000 tickets seemed slim in a county with a population of only about 3,500 people and a huge territory with barely 50,000 widely scattered, non-Native men, women, and children. Other hopeful lottery operators drained away many potential customers and sharpened the opposition of anti-gambling forces (which included many who ran illicit gambling activities of their own) that may have tolerated a single one to benefit an old pioneer. Two weeks before the scheduled drawing, Yesler announced that it would be delayed until January 1877. Shortly thereafter, those opposed to the lotteries filed suit, and a King County judge ruled that the statute permitting them was counter to federal legislation governing territories and thus void, and that those running them were therefore violating the criminal laws. Several, including Yesler, were charged by a grand jury, but he was treated leniently, let off with a $25 fine and court costs.

Oddly, there was very little follow-up, either by authorities or the press.

This is 1876 and its claiming the population was 3500 people (in the county even!) But a mere 13 years later, the infrastructure is so advanced that the fire is referred to as an event that "no American city ever suffered a loss so proportionally great." The article also tries to skirt around talking about the quality of the pre-fire buildings, implying that they were log cabins or something by saying:

But, assisted by Lowman, the old man [Yesler] bounced back once again, replacing much of what was lost with fine buildings of brick and stone, some of which, most notably the Pioneer Building, survived into the twenty-first century.

None of this is really adding up... in the traditional narrative sense anyway.
wonder if Yeslers will is available somewhere in Seattle?
Doubtful. From the same article I posted above:
Predictably, the settlement of Henry Yesler's estate was an imbroglio of epic proportions. It pitted Minnie Gagle Yesler and her mother against James Lowman and municipal authorities, who believed that Yesler had made a will that left most of his fortune, by then worth more than $1,000,000, to the city, hoping thereby to cement his reputation as the "Father of Seattle." No will was to be found, and Lowman was able to have criminal charges brought against Minnie Yesler, alleging that she had hidden or destroyed it. Those charges were eventually dropped, and whether such a will ever existed remains unknown. Minnie Yesler was supported by the estate for several years, and she lived in the mansion until 1899, when it became home to the Seattle Public Library. Having survived the Great Fire of 1889, it was destroyed by flames on New Year's Day 1901.
Heh. Everything burns.

Edit: Check out all the lines around this mansion (on the left):


Post-fire (complete with creepy kid):

Story includes an Andrew Carnegie cameo (as many of these stories do), who out of the goodness of his heart, donated money to establish a new library.

Also worth noting, this mansion was pretty lucky to survive the 1889 fire... it was basically on the edge of the destruction, being "framed by 3rd Avenue, 4th Avenue, James Street and Jefferson Street." (Red dot in snip of KD's destruction area map):


Thank God the wind didn't manage to blow across the street to Yesler's house. I'm sure he appreciated it.
So there is an avenue to explore though it does rather sound that it is a boots on the ground sort of job.
I’ve seen scans of some of them. Thanks for the info, will give it a try. But it’s gonna be a while before that happens...


Allegedly, right before the fire, Mr. Fisher acquired a fireproof safe, where some of the drawings survived.
Remarkably, Elmer Fisher’s drawings also survived - he had acquired a safe to store them and many of them are now in the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

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