The tattered pages of a copy of The Seattle Daily Times from 1924 tell the beginnings of a story, still true over ninety years later:
In words of highest praise, praise for the indomitable spirit of the men who conceived and carried it through to completion, praise for the civic pride that made it possible, praise for the hands and minds that accomplished the artistry with which it is wrought, The Olympic was dedicated to the Queen City in a series of programs following the opening banquet last night.
It was a celebration of the highest caliber when The Olympic opened in the midst of the Roaring Twenties. The opening night dinner and dance held December 6, 1924 are considered a milestone in the history of the Pacific Northwest. More than 2,000 Seattleites and guests attended the gala, with hundreds more lining the streets to glimpse the new hotel. Its opening introduced new standards for lavish social affairs, previously only found in large East Coast cities.
Now The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, the beautiful building in the center of Seattle's downtown still reflects the same degree of elegance and civic pride seen through the eyes of that newspaper reporter in 1924. A current publication describes The Fairmont Olympic as the center of social life in the Seattle and King County area. Indeed, thousands of current and past residents of the Seattle area can recite stories of senior proms, debutante balls, engagement parties, wedding receptions, anniversary celebrations and civic galas from recent years or distant memory. All were made that much more beautiful because they took place at The Olympic.
Built on what was originally the site of the first campus of the University of Washington, The Fairmont Olympic has evolved from the grandest inn west of Chicago in 1924, with a hotel room rate of $3.50 a night, to Washington's premier luxury hotel. Fully restored in the mid 1980s and renovated again in 2005, the 450-guest-room hotel, which includes 216 suites, has been lauded for retaining and, indeed celebrating, the old world charm of its Italian renaissance architectural design. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a member of Historic Hotels of America, the hotel continues to receive national and international recognition.
On August 1, 2003, a new era was ushered in when Fairmont Hotels & Resorts assumed management of The Olympic Hotel. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel joined such landmark properties as The Fairmont San Francisco, The Fairmont Banff Springs and The Savoy in London.
In honor of this continuing legacy, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel published The Olympic: The Story of Seattle's Landmark Hotel in celebration of 90th anniversary of the hotel. "The history book truly cements The Fairmont Olympic's place as Seattle's community hotel. I am very proud of the hotel's history and excited to share our stories with all of those who have special memories of our hotel," says Fairmont Olympic General Manager Markus Treppenhauer.
Written and published by HistoryLink and authored by Alan Stein, the book traces the hotel's history from the original site of the University of Washington to its place as a leading hotel in Seattle. Distributed by University of Washington Press, the history book is available at University Bookstore and Barnes & Noble as well as the gift shop in the Olympic Hotel.