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July 6, 2014 at 7:16 PM

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Smith Tower turns 100


BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES, LEFT, AND SEATTLE TIMES ARCHIVE

LEFT: A "100" banner on the Smith Tower commemorates its 100th birthday as seen from the north side of Occidental Park on July 6, 2014. RIGHT: The Smith Tower under construction in 1912.

The admission line to ascend the iconic Smith Tower stretched around the white ornamented granite and terra cotta building in Pioneer Square through the holiday weekend. For the 100th birthday of what was once the tallest building on the West Coast, the administration charged 25 cents, the original price of admission to see the lavish Chinese Room and observation deck on the 35th floor.

Construction of the Smith Tower started in 1910, and it was welcomed with an opening ceremony on July 3, 1914. Twenty-five cents was nothing to scoff at in 1914 -- it would be equal to just over $6 today, adjusting for inflation.

The low cost brought in what Chinese Room Concierge Stephen Willis called an incredible turnout. He remarked how many people he'd met who have lived their whole lives in Seattle and never been up to the tower. "You're getting the 'wow' factor again that they had 100 years ago," said Willis, who has worked at the Smith Tower for 14 years.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Kevin Sigler, 19, a University of Washington student originally from Juneau, Alaska, takes advantage of a beautiful Sunday afternoon to visit the Smith Tower.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Mount Rainier is seen clearly from the observation deck on a sunny day.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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