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Mining the past for the future King Street Station


When the city took over King Street Station in 2008, the Jackson plaza was a deserted parking lot with security fencing lining both sides of the plaza.   While researching historic documents for the station rehabilitation, SDOT came upon photos that showed the plaza with a three globe lamp fixture that stood on top of the granite balustrade.  These fixtures are shaped like the “Gumby” character of a TV series that was popular in the 1950s-1980s.   The fence posts were remnants of these light fixtures that were cut down some time ago.  Funded with a TIGGER II grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), SDOT was able to produce replica lamps of these historic fixtures and the majority of them have been installed.  These cast iron fixtures have frosted glass globes with efficient LED modules, illuminating the plaza at night.  The installation of the remaining fixtures will resume after the seismic steel delivery is complete.  More photos of the Gumby-like light fixtures can be viewed on

Another interesting “find” was literally dug up during restoration work this past year.  While excavating for utilities next to the King Street Station building, construction crews discovered the granite  foundation of two demolished buildings that existed at the turn of the century.  These foundation pieces reside two to three feet below grade, and ranges between 2.5 feet to four feet in width and 2.5 feet in height.  The average weight of each piece is around two tons.  Construction in the area was temporarily stopped while SDOT sought approval from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) and the FTA to remove these pieces.  These granite pieces are also perfect match for the existing granite that clad the station’s first floor exterior.  Since the station rehabilitation will require extra granite pieces and samples submitted by the contractor cannot match the original on the building, the team proposed to reuse the salvaged granite to replace missing sections on King Street Station.  This plan was approved by DAHP and FTA immediately.