AKA: Seattle Public Library, Green Lake Branch #2, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - libraries

Designers: Clark, W.G., Construction Company (firm); Snyder Hartung Kane Strauss (SHKS) Architects (firm); Somervell and Cote, Architects (firm); W. G. Clark (building contractor); Joseph Simon Cote (architect); Frank Coulter ; Jonathan Hartung (architect); Kevin Kane (architect); Mark Snyder (architect); Woodruff Marbury Somervell (architect); David Strauss (architect)

Dates: constructed 1909-1910

2 stories, total floor area: 9,557 sq. ft.

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7364 East Green Lake Drive North
Green Lake, Seattle, WA 98115-5352

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East Green Lake Boulevard North and Fourth Avenue NE

Building History

Plans began for a new Green Lake library in 1908, as financing was gathered from the Andrew Carnegie Corporation and from local sources. A 125' x 110' site was purchased by the neighborhood on the north corner of East Green Lake Boulevard and Fourth Avenue NE in 1908. The Seattle architects, Somervell and Coté designed this larger, Carnegie-financed facility in 1909 with construction occurring in 1909-1910. The library opened amidst celebration on 07/29/1910. The new library contained 5,000 square feet and cost $35,000; its bi-lateral symmetry, raised main floor, and rectangular floor plan closely related it with other Carnegie libraries built across the U.S. In 1999, the structure stored 54,000 volumes.

Building Notes

The three branches built in 1909-1910--Green Lake, University District, and West Seattle--were all designed by the Seattle architects, Somervell and Cote, who won a competition that included 33 competing firms. The San Francisco architect, John Galen Howard, who was also consulting on the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle at the same time, served as "expert adviser" for the competition. Once the architects were selected, the City Librarian, Judson T. Jennings, embarked on a trip to the East Coast to tour branch libraries in 22 cities. Plans for the Green Lake Branch were dated 03/24/1909.

In 1908, the Seattle Times reported about the three branch libraries being designed by Somervell and Coté: "The public library board yesterday afternoon considered the question of materials to be used in the construction of the three new branch libraries, designs for which have been drawn by Somervell & Coté. It practically has been agreed to erect one building of terra cotta title, with a stucco surface, and the other two of either stone or brick. The designs of each instance will be altered to some extent to give a variety." It added that, "The Green Lake site has been cleared and is ready for builders." (See "Variety Suggested in Branch Buildings," Seattle Times, 09/10/1908, p. 7 ) The Green Lake and University District branches had stucco exteriors, while the West Seattle building was clad in brick.

In 2011, the library occupied a 0.48 acre site and had 9,557 square feet of space. Tel: 206-684-7547 (2007).

Alteration

Shrubbery was planted at this library by a "landscape gardener" in 1914. (See Daniel B. Trefethen, Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Seattle Public Library, 1914, [Dearborn Printing Company, 1914], p. 6.)

The Green Lake Branch of the Seattle Public Library underwent HVAC systems upgrading and other improvements costing $1,103,780 (another figure of $1,048,794 was derived from the Seattle Public Library's website at) between 12/16/2002 and its reopening on 03/06/2004. Seattle architects, Snyder Hartung Kane Strauss Architects, supervised the renovations, that included reinstallation of telecommunications and computer wiring, revised lighting, and improved exterior drainage planning. Original windows were upgraded with replicas that could open and close, and all spaces were recarpeted and repainted. A wheelchair accessible restroom was installed near the basement meeting room. The architects also enlarged the main circulation desk and remodeled the approach to the library and its entryway to make it closer to the original design. For the Seattle Public Library, the Project Manager was Frank Coulter; Jonathan Hartung was involved in the project for Snyder Hartung Kane Strauss. W.G. Clark Construction Company served as Building Contractors on this renovation. Linda Larson acted as the Library Board's Steward.