Saturday, March 6, 2010

Smith Tower: The Chinese Room

Gothic Cap of Smith Tower
We never had been up to the Chinese Room on the 35th floor of the Smith Tower, so it was time. It’s a nice view I’ll give it that, especially on a clear day when you can see the Olympics and Rainier. But, be prepared, once up there you realize how many hard expanses of cement and buildings are all around. What did I expect, it is a city after all? To the east is I-5, to the west Route 99 and the water. To the north, the rest of the city, and to the south Seattle's industrial section.

The Smith Tower was built by the Smith family that made their name in the manufacture of small arms (much like Remington & Sons) and went on to produce the Smith Corona typewriter. In 1909, Lyman Cornelius (L.C.) Smith, a New York tycoon, for some reason (expansion of his company?) planned for 14-story building to be built in Seattle. Eventually, with the urging of his son, the plans morphed into the present day structure. When the Smith Tower opened on July 4, 1914 it was the fourth tallest building in the world at 522 feet and remained in this position for 50 years. Of particular interest is the Chinese Room located on the 35th floor. The interior of the room was a gift to L.C. Smith from Empress Cixi, the last Empress of China. The gift was in response to a gift of L.C. Smith rifles and Smith-Corona typewriters that Smith brought with him on a trade mission to China. The Chinese Room can be rented for your special occasion.
View From Smith Tower Looking Northwest
View from Smith Tower looking Northwest toward the Harbor.

View of Smith Tower from the Ground (from the South)
View of Smith Tower from the South, on the Ground.

Chinese Roome Ceiling Detail
Chinese Room Ceiling Detail.

2 comments:

  1. "The gift was in response to a gift of L.C. Smith rifles and Smith-Corona typewriters that Smith brought with him on a trade mission to China." Where did you get this information? I'd love to know more.

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  2. I got it from the brochure I picked up during the visit. Can post the page from the brochure.

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