One of the great things about traveling in Europe is that you get to be around so much beautiful, well-preserved architecture. In the States, most of our vintage buildings are east of the Mississippi, but Seattle does have a few gorgeous old buildings. On a recent walk downtown, I happened upon the Arctic Club, and I was blown away.
The Arctic Club was one of the many men’s clubs that sprung up in Seattle during the days of the Klondike Gold Rush. Back then, Seattle was a boom town, and a stopover for men headed north to make their fortunes. Some of them succeeded, and settled in Seattle, investing their new-found riches in exclusive social clubs, where they could gather and regale each other with tales of their Klondike adventures.
In 1916, the architect A. Warren Gould designed the building which would become the Arctic Club’s new home, at the corner of Third and Cherry in downtown Seattle. He covered the exterior in glazed terra-cotta panels, featuring iconic walrus head statues that encircle the third floor. The interior included such amenities as card and billiard rooms, a barber shop, and even a bowling alley. There were also several private dining rooms, bars, and the gorgeous Northern Lights Dome Room, topped with a golden dome, a grand crystal chandelier, and exquisite stained glass panels.
The Arctic Club disbanded in 1971, and the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, making it a Seattle Landmark. It is now the owned by the Hilton Hotel Group, and it’s a great spot to stay if you’re looking to experience a bit of history during your visit to the city. You can also just stop in for a drink at the Polar Bar as part of a day spent exploring Pioneer Square, or to kick off a memorable night on the town.