The First Methodist Church/ Rainier Club Block

Seattle's growth at the turn of the century led to a differentiation of land uses. Previously, commercial, industrial, institutional and residential uses were all clustered around First and Yesler. Rising land values and related activities led many non-commercial users to relocate further east. By the time the Rainier Club had constructed its new building in 1904 and the First United Methodist Church was planning its relocation in 1907 this new neighborhood was showing signs of the mix of institutions and residences that would to define it until the mid-twentieth century when the construction of the Interstate 5 freeway severed this portion of the city from First Hill further east.

By 1905, within the immediate vicinity of Fifth and Marion were the Rainier Club, Seattle General Hospital, Providence Hospital, the Seattle Public Library, U.S. Court offices, a Church of Christ Scientist, and the Central School as well as townhouses, duplexes, apartments, hotels and boarding houses. The area became particularly attractive to private clubs, charitable institutions, and churches. Of the organizations that located within three blocks of Fifth and Marion, the following either remain today or their buildings do: the Rainier Club, the First United Methodist Church, the YMCA, the Artic Club, the Alaska Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Transportation Club. Early residences that remain are the apartments at Sixth and Marion (Dover Apartments), and "The Pacific" (Leamington/Pacific Hotel & Apartments), across the street from the YMCA and the Rainier Club. This core of early structures is a visual reminder of Seattle's early civic history. The Arctic Building, "The Pacific" and the Rainier Club are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These structures are also Seattle Landmarks, as is the YMCA.


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