Labor Temple

2800 1st Avenue

Labor Temple southern side, Seattle, May 27, 2020, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
American Federation of Labor Temple (right), Seattle, March 1955, Photo by Werner Lenggenhager, Courtesy Seattle Public Library (spl_wl_bui_00495)
Seattle Labor Temple entrance at night, Belltown, October 4, 2013, Photo by Visitor7 (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Labor Leaders, Seattle Labor Temple, 1913, Photo by Asahel Curtis

2800 1st Avenue

Seattle’s labor history is rich with rough-and-tumble characters and episodes. The Industrial Workers of the World (the “Wobblies”) helped spark the Seattle General Strike of 1919, and Seattle was home to Teamsters union boss Dave Beck for decades. Several union halls were situated in the Belltown neighborhood, and this Labor Temple was the most impressive building of them all.

An earlier Labor Temple at 6th Avenue and University Street had been a safe meeting place and offices for many different unions, and it was there that the General Strike was hatched. In 1942, the various unions moved to this site, and into a bigger, two-story brick building at a location better suited to members in the maritime trades. In time the building was widened and increased to three stories. The brick exterior and marble-clad hallways adorn a structure featuring a meeting hall and a private basement bar known as “The Pit.” Several labor unions still maintain offices in this temple, which is listed on Seattle’s historic landmarks registry.

Head east on Clay to 2nd Avenue and turn right. Follow 2nd to Wall Street and turn left for our next stop.

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