There are many reasons why Smith Tower, Seattle has achieved fame throughout the years. Some visit the Chinese Room to enjoy the fabulous display of Chinese antiques, while others enjoy the open-air Observation Deck for stunning view of the city and surrounds. Still others are impressed with the building's overall beauty and history.
Located in Pioneer Square, not far from Qwest Field, the Smith Tower Seattle was built between 1912 and 1914 by the typewriter and firearms magnate Lyman C. Smith. All Smith wanted to do was build a simple, fourteen-story building; however, his son convinced him that Seattle needed a huge, impressive skyscraper. He argued that since Smith produced office equipment, the office building should be impressive. Smith then contacted Seattle's political elite. He told them of his plans to build his impressive edifice, but he added one stipulation: Seattle's municipal government offices needed to be located within four blocks of his tower. The City Council was amenable to his request. As a result, the magnificent Smith Tower, Seattle was built. At the time of its completion, it was the fourth-tallest building in the world. On July 4, 1914, 4,000 people visited the new building. They rode to the 35th floor and looked in awe at the city below and the water and mountains all around them.
Since it is an excellent example of neoclassical architecture, the Smith Tower is still one of the major Seattle tourist attractions for students of architecture. Its outer skin is composed of granite on the first and second floors, and the rest of the building is off-white terra cotta. The elevators have brass and copper cages; the doors are latticed, which allows riders to see into the hallways on each floor. The Smith Tower is one of the few buildings on the West Coast that have elevator operators.
The 35th floor of the tower comprises the Chinese Room and open-air Observation Deck. The room has hand-carved furniture and a hand-carved ceiling that were gifts from the last empress of China; the panels use Chinese characters to tell the history of Seattle. Seventeenth-century art panels and sixteenth-century temple doors were installed by later owners of the building. From the elegant room and observation deck, spectacular views abound in all directions, including vistas of Mt. Rainier, Puget Sound, and the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. In the evening, guests enjoy delightful views of the Seattle city lights.
Be sure to take a look at the famous Wishing Chair. Legend has it that a single woman sincerely desiring marriage who sits in the chair will be a bride within a year. The Chinese Room is a very popular Seattle wedding reception venue, as well as a frequently visited attraction. The Chinese Room has a capacity of 99 guests. If you are looking for a Seattle wedding reception location, or a space for a rehearsal dinner, the Chinese Room is an excellent choice!