This building, constructed in 1946, is one of numerous smaller buildings built in the post-war years for First Hill's rapidly-expanding medical complexes. This one housed, until recently, the Joslin Center for Diabetes; it now appears to be vacant. Most of these mid-century buildings have themselves been replaced by larger hospital buildings or medical offices. The adjacent Swedish Medical Center, founded in 1910, is now the region's largest hospital. Swedish and related offices have expanded through an early residential area to cover approximately fifteen blocks between Boren Avenue and Broadway, from Madison Street south to James Street.
First Hill, located just east of downtown Seattle, was one of the city's early expansion areas for both residents and institutions. The western and southern slopes were platted by Charles C. Terry in 1872. At the same time, Arthur A. Denny platted the northwest corner. Construction of grand homes began here in 1885, and the neighborhood quickly became a premier residential district, with the wealthy seeking larger lots with views over the city and a refuge from the crowded downtown. The inauguration in 1889-90 of cable car lines on Madison and James streets encouraged development of more modest homes and multifamily buildings. By the 1920s, the wealthy homeowners had largely moved elsewhere, and First Hill filled with apartment buildings, hotels, hospitals and other institutions. Swedish Hospital was founded in 1910, Cabrini Hospital in 1915, Virginia Mason Hospital in 1920 and Maynard Hospital in 1929. Seattle University constructed its first building here in 1893, followed by St. James Cathedral in 1907 and O’Dea High School in 1924. In 1931, King County Hospital (now Harborview Medical Center) moved to the south end of First Hill.