The Seven Seas Building, located at 1315 1st Avenue in Seattle, Washington, has a rich and varied history that spans over a century. The building was originally constructed in 1893 as the Wheeler-Osgood Company Building and served as a warehouse for the Seattle Dry Goods Company.
In 1902, the building was sold to the North Coast Steamship Company and was used as a hub for shipping and receiving goods. The building's location on the Seattle waterfront made it a prime location for maritime commerce.
In the 1920s, the Seven Seas Building underwent extensive renovations and was transformed into the Commerce Building, a hub for business and professional offices. The building was home to a variety of tenants, including architects, attorneys, and real estate firms.
During World War II, the building was used as a base of operations for the United States Coast Guard. After the war, the building changed hands several times and was used for various purposes, including as a warehouse for the Bon Marché department store and a storage facility for the University of Washington.
In the 1970s, the building was purchased by the Seattle World's Fair Corporation and was slated for demolition. However, a group of activists led by the Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority rallied to save the building.
In the 1980s, the building was leased to the Lusty Lady, a peep show establishment that gained notoriety for being one of the few strip clubs in the country that was collectively owned by its employees. The dancers, known as "Lusties," worked behind glass windows, and customers would pay to watch them perform.
The Lusty Lady became a cultural icon in Seattle, and its unique business model garnered national attention. In 2003, the club was forced to shut down temporarily due to financial difficulties, but it reopened a few months later with new ownership. However, declining profits and increasing competition from online pornography led to the club's ultimate closure in 2010.
Today, the Seven Seas Building is vacant, but its historic architecture and cultural significance will live on. While the building's future remains uncertain, its storied past is a testament to its resilience and importance to the community.