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Summary for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Historic Name: U.S. Bureau of Fisheries - West Wing Building Common Name:
Style: Art Deco Neighborhood: Montlake
Built By: Year Built: 1931
The original building, now known as the North Campus, was the first federal Fisheries building constructed on the West Coast. It was designed by John Graham, Sr., who was a major force in the construction and design of downtown Seattle. His works include the Dexter Horton Building, the Bon Marche (now Macy's), and the Exchange Building. He also designed the nearby Seattle Yacht Club and several buildings on the University of Washington campus. Graham is noted as being “particularly adept in the Art Deco style” and the Bon Marche (now Macy's), the Exchange Building, designed several other “finely detailed, terra-cotta clad commercial structures”.

Montlake is generally described as extending from the Washington Park Arboretum west to Portage Bay/15th Avenue E., and from the Montlake Cut on the north to Interlaken Park. The area is a significant and cohesive collection of residential architecture typical of early 20th century Seattle and is eligible as a NRHP historic district under Criterion C.  Construction occurred primarily between 1910 and 1940, with a variety of Craftsman and  revival styles ranging from modest cottages and builder's houses to high-style architect-designed residences, impressive institutional buildings, and notable parks and natural features.  There are few intrusions of newer buildings.  In the early 1960s, construction of SR 520 and the unfinished R.H. Thomson Expressway bisected Montlake, but the neighborhood retains its basic integrity as a pre-World War II Seattle neighborhood. 

Montlake was incorporated into the City of Seattle in 1891.  Although the first  plats (Union City 1st and 2nd additions) were filed by Harvey Pike in 1869-1871, development did not really begin until plats were filed by John Boyer (Interlaken, 1905) and H. S. Turner (1907). Montlake Park (north of SR 520) was platted in 1909 by the developers James Corner and Calvin and William Hagan.  With the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition came a streetcar line on 24th Avenue E. and an impetus for development. In 1916, the Lake Washington Ship Canal was completed and the Montlake Bridge linked the neighborhood to the university area in 1925. A small commercial district grew along the car line.

The 1903 Olmsted Parks and Boulevards Plan of 1903 surrounded Montlake with parks.  Montlake Boulevard (then call University Boulevard) connected Lake Washington Boulevard to the A-Y-P grounds.  Washington Park, the eastern boundary, was acquired by the City in 1900 and developed as an arboretum in 1936-41. At the southern edge is steep, forested Interlaken Park and boulevard.

By 1915, the neighborhood had developed enough to require a temporary school building; the permanent structure opened in 1924.Soon afterwards came a playfield and shelter house (1933-36) and a library (1944, replaced 2006). Other noteworthy structures include the Seattle Yacht Club (1920), the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Center (1931), the Museum of History and Industry (1952) and St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church (1962).


King County Tax Assessor Records, 1937-2014. 

Becker, Paula.  Seattle Neighborhoods: Montlake--Thumbnail History.  HistoryLink File # 10170, accessed 12/2/2013.

Gould, James W. Montlake History.

Smith, Eugene. Montlake: An Urban Eden, A History of the Montlake Community in Seattle. La Grande OR: Oak Street Press, 2004.


This three-story, rectangular building is of masonry construction clad in variegated blond brick with extensive terra cotta details in the Art Deco style. It has a concrete foundation and a flat roof behind a stepped parapet. The building is nine bays wide with a center entry. The windows have 1/1 wooden sash third-floor windows have striated metal spandrels. The distinctive terra cotta ornament has a nautical theme, reflecting the marine mission of the building. It includes panels with fish and assorted marine life below the second floor windows and panels with sea horses flanking stems of coral at the top of the pilasters that separate the pairs of windows, The parapet wall features seashells set in decorative brick V’s, and a band of stylized jumping fish runs above the third floor windows. The impressive central door surround is also terra cotta, and bears the lettering “U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Fisheries.” Next to it, rendered in terra cotta, is a shield topped by an eagle, featuring a three-masted ship under full sail. The paired entry doors are compatible modern replacements, with the original bronze frames with an Art Deco pattern.

Detail for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat with Parapet Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Education - College Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories: three
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Science & Engineering
Changes to Plan: Unknown
Changes to Windows: Unknown
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References

Photo collection for this site is under review and the displayed data may not be fully up to date. If you need additional info, please call (206) 684-0464

Photo taken Mar 25, 2009
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