Seattle Writing Prompt: the pyramid atop the skyscraper

New column! Seattle Writing Prompts are intended to spark ideas for your writing, based on locations and stories of Seattle. Write something inspired by a prompt? Send it to us! We're looking to publish writing sparked by prompts.

Did you know that someone lives atop Smith Tower? Petra Franklin Lahaie holds the lease. She cleared the space after a water tower was removed, converted it into an apartment, and made her home there with her family and her massive Chihuly chandelier. The New York Times did a great piece, with photos, and Evening Magazine took their cameras inside in 2011.

What a stellar piece of Seattle skyline that building is. A wood frame skyscraper 38 stories tall, the tallest building "west of the Mississippi", as we like to say in Seattle, when it was built, Smith Tower opened in 1914. Its builder, Lyman Cornelius Smith, whose moniker you may know when attached to the company name Smith Corona, bought the land when on a trip out west from his native New York in 1909. Did you know the building still employs elevator operators?

Ivar Haglund once owned the building, as did the property holding firm Samis, a company started to control the interests of that other Seattle iconoclast, Sam Israel (somebody really should write a book about him), a few years after their namesake died.

But it's that apartment at the top that has always captured my fancy. Here are five writing prompts based on that pyramid, and Smith Tower.

Today's prompts
  1. It's 1915 and the newly opened building was built with the apartment up top. Who lives there? What is their daughter like? Does she get into trouble and go on adventures?
  2. It's 1975, and an elevator operator in Smith Tower witnesses a murder through the door cage as he is going down. Worse yet, the murderer saw him. Was he alone in the car? Does the story all take place inside of one hour? Does it spark something bigger? Do they end up in the pyramid as it was, with the decaying water tower?
  3. It's 2000 and the Kingdome is about to be demolished. What does a young street hustler have to do to get up to the top to watch the destruction? Can they even make it? Can they make it to the glass bulb at the very top?
  4. It's 1941 and German and Japanese aircraft are bombing Seattle. What can people in the building do to keep it safe? How can they fight back against air-strikes, like London saw during the Blitz. What if there's a German traitor in the building?
  5. It's 2025 and the big one hits. Who works on floor 15, what part of Seattle do they need to get amidst the rubble, and how will they get there? Do people die? Does the building go down?