In 1889, while this building was under construction, fire consumed most (sixteen blocks) of Seattle's downtown business district. The deep pit that had been dug for this building's foundation acted as a fire stop, preventing the destruction from spreading further north. When reconstruction began after the fire, the Holyoke Building was the first office structure completed. In the first half of the 20th Century, the Holyoke Building became a gathering place for artists and musicians, including Nellie C. Cornish, founder of Seattle's Cornish School. In 1970, the building was acquired by the predecessor of Harbor Properties, Inc., which later renovated it. In 1976, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.