Port of Seattle

2711 Alaskan Way

Victoria Clipper and Port of Seattle, October 22, 2020, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Pier 69, Seattle, July 30, 1981, Courtesy UW Special Collection (SEA4810)
American Can Company's new pier, Seattle, January 14, 1931, Courtesy MOHAI (2014.106.3)

Port of Seattle headquarters

Pier 69 has been home to a number of companies. The Roslyn Coal & Coke Company built the pier in 1900. Coal had been one of Seattle’s first industries. Sold from bunkers on the waterfront at Pike Street and later at King Street, coal from Roslyn, Renton, and Newcastle provided more efficient fuel for steamers, factories, and heating homes and businesses. After World War II, coal use from Washington declined in favor of petroleum fuels, although the last Washington coal mine, the TransAlta open-pit coal mine near Centralia, continued operating until 2006.

In 1920, the American Can Company bought the pier for warehouse space and for shipping the cans made in the factory across the railroad tracks (now converted into an office building). From 1976 to 1988, the British Columbia Steamship Company docked its Victoria Princess line’s ships, the Princess Marguerite and the Vancouver Island Princess at the pier. B.C. Stena Line bought the ships and provided daily car ferry service between Seattle and Victoria until the early 1990s. The vehicle service shifted to Pier 48 in 1988 and was replaced at Pier 69 with the Victoria Clipper’s passenger service.

The Port of Seattle bought the pier in 1988 and converted the transit shed into its headquarters as part of the Central Waterfront Project, which remade a substantial section of the waterfront. The new headquarters opened in 1993 and features a fountain and 400-foot-long stream designed by landscape architect Bob Murase (1938-2005) that runs along a granite channel in the floor of the atrium on the top floor. While the interior offices are not open to the public, the lobby features model ships and artwork. The pier continues to serve the Victoria Clipper catamarans via slips on the south side.

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