Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

This application will be offline for Maintenance Saturday Feb 4th from 6am to noon

New Search

Summary for 901 12TH AVE / Parcel ID 197820-1335 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Seattle College Common Name: Garrand Hall, Seattle University
Style: Beaux Arts - Neoclassical Neighborhood: First Hill
Built By: Year Built: 1894
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
This building has been determined eligible for the National Register under Criteria A and C.

This notable building was designed in 1893-94 by John Parkinson for a new Jesuit college that was to become Seattle University. Seattle College was founded in 1891 by two Jesuit priests, Father Victor Garrand and Father Adrian Sweere. They first established the Immaculate Conception Parish church and school at 6th Avenue and Spring Street in downtown Seattle. The school grew rapidly and both the church and school moved to this new building in 1894. The parish church and school moved to 18th Avenue, but the college remained on Madison Street. In 1919, the college sought room for expansion by purchasing the site of a failing Baptist school, Adelphia College on Interlaken Boulevard, with donated funds. This building remained empty and unsold until 1931, when the college returned here. Enrollment increased during the Depression and, especially, during and after World War II, and the institution added schools of nursing, education, engineering and business. It recognized its expanded programs in 1948 by changing its name to Seattle University. The campus expanded by acquiring and remodeling a diverse group of single family residences and apartment, commercial and industrial buildings. Over the next five decades these were converted to college uses and were gradually replaced with new buildings. During the 1950s-60s twelve major buildings were added, and another dozen buildings have been added since 1987. The university now has an integrated campus of 48 acres and serves nearly 8,000 students. This original building was restored in 1994 to accommodate the School of Nursing.

Architect John Parkinson (1865-1935) apprenticed with a contractor in his native England and then received education in building construction and design. He worked in Winnipeg and Minneapolis before moving to California in 1885. He began designing buildings in 1889 and moved to Seattle shortly before the great fire of that year. In the five years he was here he proved to be one of the city's major designers, with a wide variety of projects including commercial blocks, residences and schools. At about the same time he designed Garrand Hall he designed the original building for another college, the Methodist Seattle Seminary; that building is also extant. In 1894 the economic slump led him to return to California where he had an illustrious career until his death in 1935.
This distinctive four-story building faces west, away from the rest of today's campus and toward Broadway (but well below the street). It is of masonry construction faced with red brick and sitting on a a roughly cut ashlar foundation of sandstone. It has a low hipped roof with narrow bracketed eaves, topped by a small cupola with a cross (that may be a reconstruction). The building is a relatively restrained Classical design with little ornamentation other than the brick pilasters with stone caps and bases a t the corners and framing the windows above the entrances on the north and south elevations. The recessed windows are flat headed on the first and second stories and segmentally arched on the third and fourth stories. They have double-hung two-over-two wood sash.

The building has very good integrity. A grand staircase and a pedimented porch on the west side were removed before 1937 (possibly following a fire). The three arched entryways on the second story have replacement doors that open onto a small balcony. The east entrance, facing campus, is now used as the main entrance.

Detail for 901 12TH AVE / Parcel ID 197820-1335 / Inv # 0

Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Stone Foundation(s): Stone
Roof Type(s): Hip Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Education - College Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: four
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Education, Religion
Changes to Plan: Slight
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, ed. Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide to the Architects. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994.
Sound Transit, Historic and Archaeological Report, Draft Environmental Impact Statement, 1998.

Photo collection for 901 12TH AVE / Parcel ID 197820-1335 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Jul 12, 2010
App v2.0.1.0