They say bedrock, at that location, was too deep for pilings to reach, so Smith Tower sits on friction pilings, driven down enough into sediment to stop from friction. 

Not the tallest building in town, but very historic.  Smith Tower was built in 1914.  Around 46 floors; tallest building west of the Mississippi and one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world when built.  An engineering feat for it's day.

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Taken 2002
Mid floor view to other downtown Seattle skyscrapers from Smith Tower's observation deck.

Image taken 1989
Looking out over Elliot Bay.

Image taken 2000
Looking up at penthouse.

Image taken 2000

Look down on Smith Tower from Columbia Center, 2007

My 2004 visit in the tower

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