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Smith Tower Penthouse

October 24, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The NYT Home section on Thursday featured an unexpected look into the long-mysterious penthouse apartment of Seattle’s Smith Tower. When opened in 1914, the Smith Tower was the tallest building west of the MIssissippi, and remained so for decades. As you can see in the photo above, at its top is a pyramid. And in that pyramid is a residential apartment, the subject of the NYT piece. As interesting as the article itself is, even better is the accompanying slide show. You really must have a look. After that, read the article if you wish. It opens as follows:

To get to the top of the world, Petra Franklin Lahaie ushers her two young daughters and their girly bikes through a set of heavy bronze doors, greets the 24-hour elevator operator in the Prussian blue uniform, rides up 35 stories past mostly vacant office suites, debarks next to an observation deck and Chinese-themed banquet room, passes through a portal marked “private residence,” climbs two stories into a neo-gothic pyramid and enters a penthouse apartment.

To my embarrassment, despite living here almost 30 years, I’ve never gone up to the observation deck or the Chinese Room. We missed our big chance in August 1988, when our friend Paul got married there. We were in Princeton at the time, near the end of my sabbatical year, returning to Seattle just a week later. Somehow, in the 22 years since, no one has invited us back. Nor have we simply gone down on our own and gotten on the famous elevators.

Maybe next weekend.

Categories: Architecture
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