Livingston-Baker Building

1925 1st Ave

1925 1st Ave

Walk up the steep hill of Virginia Street. This is the original grade of a hill that progressed three more blocks uphill to its apex at today’s 2nd Avenue and Virginia Street. The crown of this hill was lopped off as part of R. H. Thompson’s regrading projects in the early 20th century. If you want, stop and take a break at the Buster Simpson-designed bench at the mouth of Post Alley. Stop at the southwest corner of First and Virginia, next to the Virginia Inn.

Rehabilitation of the Livingston Hotel occurred in 1977 in conjunction with the building of the Baker Building, a fairly unique mix of rehab and new construction called the Livingston-Baker Apartments. This project created 96 units of low-income housing. The corner inhabited by the Virginia Inn has served as a bar since 1908. During prohibition it was the Virginia Soft Drink Parlor and card room. This building was financed by Samuel Rosenberg, one of the seven-member Bureau of Information who so deftly marketing Seattle as the Gateway to Gold during the Klondike Gold Rush. Rosenberg also had the Sorrento Hotel constructed.

The identifying “Landes Block” printing on the northwest side of the building refers to Colonel Henry Lands of Port Townsend, who may have been an owner in the building although the details are unknown. By 1937, the contemporary layout of the Virginia Inn, its iconic sign, and the adjacent Livingston Café (now Le Pichet) had stabilized.

In 1978, the lower floors of the Livingston became home to the Pike Market Community Clinic and the Pike Place Market Senior Center. The Senior Center has since moved to the LaSalle Building.

Just south of the Livingston is the Baker Building, the former site of a two-story wood frame hotel and store known as the Camp Hotel. Here, Nellie Curtis operated a well-known brothel from 1933 – 1941 before relocating to the Outlook Building (LaSalle).

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