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Carlton Center

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Carlton Hotel; Earle Hotel
1907–1909, Carl August Darmer; 1985 renovation. 1551 Broadway.
  • (Photograph by Julie Nicoletta)

The Carlton Center, today on the northern edge of the University of Washington Tacoma campus, was built originally as a grand hotel, taking advantage of its site near the Northern Pacific Railroad and train depot. The hotel certainly benefitted after the opening of the new, grand Union Depot in 1911.

Situated on a lot between Jefferson Avenue, Broadway, Commerce, and 17th streets, the Carlton Center’s trapezoidal footprint reflects its location. The main facade faces east toward the station and is clearly visible from Pacific Avenue. The six-story building has a reinforced concrete frame faced in brick and stone, with interior timber framing. Bay windows on the building’s prominent southeast and southwest corners, east and west entrances defined by Corinthian columns, and a strong projecting cornice with dentils, brackets, and modillions all add a sense of grandeur to the structure.

Anton Huth, a German immigrant from Tacoma, became president of the Pacific Brewing and Malting Company in the late nineteenth century and his company prospered. He hired architect Carl August Darmer, a fellow German immigrant, to design the hotel, named for his son, Carlton Huth. The building remained a hotel into the 1980s, although over time, with its fortunes suffering along with those of the neighborhood and the city of Tacoma, it had shifted from being a grand, active transient hotel to a residential hotel. A 1985 renovation converted the hotel, which at one point was called the Earle Hotel, into offices, and the university relocated some of its administrative staff to the building in the early 2000s. It is now called the Carlton Center.

Writing Credits

Julie Nicoletta
J. Philip Gruen
Robert R. Franklin



  • 1907

    Design and construction

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Julie Nicoletta, "Carlton Center", [Tacoma, Washington], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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