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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

January 20, 2012 at 10:43 PM

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Signs of life in Smith Tower

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Sketched Jan. 17, 2012

Once the home to successful dot-com startups and a symbol of Seattle before the Space Needle was built, the Smith Tower is now 70 percent empty and in foreclosure. When I read the news that it will be auctioned in March, I wondered what it's like inside the iconic skyscraper these days.

To start, the friendly crew of elevator operators is still there, and the building's directory lists 17 business tenants whose employees get to enjoy magnificent views of Pioneer Square, downtown and Elliott Bay.

From his desk at Cozi.com on the seventh floor, Tim Tiscornia can see CenturyLink Field lit up during games and the Sounders fans marching to it from Occidental Park.

The expansive view from the unoccupied office space across the hall is even better. It's hard to believe that such great real estate would sit vacant today.

Will the skyscraper's glory days ever come back? Tiscornia was optimistic. "There's still good energy here," he said.

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Proud Seattleite: Tiscornia, 43, takes pride in working at the Smith Tower, a building he's been familiar with since he was a kid growing up in Seattle. His favorite thing about it is that you get to know the crew that runs the 98-year-old elevators. "Who brought you up?" he asked me, as if I had had enough time to befriend them already. "That's Hamilton ... he's great ... they're all great," he added after I gave him some clues.

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Standing the test of time: The 42-story skycraper opened in 1914. That's pretty old for Seattle. We should do something to celebrate its 100th birthday in a couple of years.

More about The Smith Tower:
--On Historylink.org.
--On Wikipedia.

What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!


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Thank you. What a wonderful journal and great sketches! "Standing the test... MORE

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