ABOUT SMITH TOWER

AN ICON REIMAGINED

On the day Smith Tower opened to the public, July 4, 1914, 4,200 people travelled to the thirty-fifth-floor Observatory in the original Otis elevator we still use today. They paid only 25 cents for the ride. Originally, there were 540 offices, six retail stores, two telegraph offices, and a public telephone station in the building. Today, Smith Tower is home to the famous Observatory, thirty-fifth-floor bar, Legends of Smith Tower exhibits, ground-floor retail store, special events space, and office leasing.

For over a century, visitors have come here to take in Seattle from above, relax, and have a good time. When you visit, be sure to have a seat in the Wishing Chair, and keep your eyes out for more Smith Tower legends as you explore the thirty-fifth floor. Smith Tower's storied past includes connections to radio, rum-running, and a host of interesting characters and scintillating stories you can enjoy with your ticket purchase.


 


FUN FACTS

  • Smith Tower was the vision of Lyman Cornelius (L.C.) Smith, an industrialist from New York who made a fortune selling typewriters and firearms. L.C.'s wife fell in love with Seattle and convinced him to purchase the land at Second Avenue and Yesler that would eventually become Smith Tower.
  • New York architectural firm Gaggin & Gaggin designed Smith Tower. They had never previously designed a building taller than five stories. Smith Tower was their first and last skyscraper.
  • Smith Tower's historic elevators were provided by the Otis Elevator Company and one of the seven operated elevators is still powered by its original DC motor.
  • The famed "Wishing Chair," rumored to have been gifted to L.C. Smith by China's Empress Dowager Cixi before her death in 1908, remains in the thirty-fifth-floor Smith Tower Observatory and is a popular spot for visitor selfies. Rumor has it that if you're single and you sit in the chair, you'll be married within the year!
  • In 1922, a one-armed stunt man (Mink de Ronda) successfully parachuted off Smith Tower, which at that time was the fourth tallest building in the world!
  • During Prohibition, Roy Olmstead (Seattle's infamous rum-running Bootleg King) and his wife Elise hosted a broadcasting station in their home with a remote studio at Smith Tower. As "Aunt Vivian," Elise read bedtime stories as rumored (but never proven) to contain secret messages. You can sip an Aunt Vivian cocktail at the Observatory in her honor.
  • King Broadcasting Company (now KING) was founded on the twenty-first floor of Smith Tower in 1947 and remained in the tower for 35 years as it expanded from radio to television.