Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - elementary schools

Designers: Cote, Joseph S., Architect (firm); Joseph Simon Cote (architect)

Dates: constructed 1914-1915

2 stories

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1021 University Street
First Hill, Seattle, WA 98101

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Overview

Built 1914-1915, the Federal Revival styled Sunset Club, an exclusive woman's group, served afternoon teas, hosted society receptions, and accommodated social events.

Building History

The Sunset Club, founded in 1912 by wives of powerful professional and businessmen, including members of the Clise, Green and Stimson Families, commissioned the Seattle architect, Joseph Simon Coté (1874-1957) to design a Colonial Revival clubhouse for them, erected between 1914 and 1915. At this time, many members of America's upper classes were intent on tracing their lineages back before the American Revolution, and becoming members of groups such as the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution (founded in 1889 and 1890, respectively). Having roots in the US going back before the American Revolution conveyed a sense of privilege, reified one's membership in an foundational social group, and distinguished one from recent immigrants (many not from Northern Europe) who flooded the country after 1890. America felt that it was a maturing country, ready to take its place on the world stage, and it sought to develop institutions that gave it increased cultural weight and substance, particularlyvis-à-visEurope. It may have been that utilizing Early American architectural imagery had special meaning to the founding members of this group.

These society women met between 1913 and 1915 in the sub-let apartment of Senator and Mrs. John Lockwood Wilson in the Adrian Court Apartments. (See Mary T. Henry, HistoryLink.org, "Sunset Club (Seattle)," published 06/14/2014, accessed 09/12/2019.) In its early days, the Adrian Court Apartments was a social center for Seattle's wealthy.

Alteration

Architect Joseph Coté designed an addition in the 1920s for the Sunset Club that contained a ball room, garden room and kitchen. Coté had been the architect for Dr. and Mrs. Frederick Bentley's House #2 (1914) on Federal Avenue in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood of Seattle, WA. Mrs. Bentley, a member of the Sunset Club, directed 180 musical shows for it over the years. She may have been his connection to the Sunset Club commission. The Sunset Club Ball Room has for many years been a popular venue for weddings and other social occasions.

PCAD id: 10220