AKA: Seattle Public Schools, Broadway High School, Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA

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

Designers: Boone and Meeker, Architects (firm); William Ely Boone (architect); George Cook Meeker (architect)

Dates: constructed 1888-1889, demolished 1953

3 stories

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7th Avenue and Madison Street
First Hill, Seattle, WA 98104

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Building History

Boone and Meeker used fire-resistant brick construction for the school; it opened after the catastrophic Seattle Fire of 06/06/1889 and every architect would have been mindful of fire prevention (particularly for a school) at this time. Originally, the school was badly overcrowded serving all student levels, necessitating the renting out of annex classroom spaces. At its height, the school served 880 students. With the building of the new Seattle High School in Capitol Hill, overcrowding was greatly eased. Gradually, with the flight of the middle class from urban centers, the number of children dropped to about 300 in the late 1930s, with many students later coming from the Asian neighborhoods of the International District.

The Olympia Earthquake of 04/13/1949 caused portions of the masonry to fall, wrecking a adjoining portable trailer used as a nursery school. Following this, confidence in the 60-year-old building waned, and it was torn down in 08/1953. Subsequently, the site was fully paved over, first for an income-producing parking lot for the Seattle Public Schools and later, in the early 1960s, as portions of the new Interstate 5.

Building Notes

Set on a 1.4-acre parcel, the Central School #1, was a substantial, three-story brick building that housed originally K-12 students. Until 1902, High school students used the top floor, elementary and middle school students the first two. (Thereafter, elementary school students used the whole building.) Seattle architects Boone and Meeker, designed the school in a hybrid style with Second Empire elements (most notably the Mansard roofs) and other details not usually seen with that mode, such as corbelling (Second Empire buildings often had decorative bracketing but not corbelling) and wall dormers trimmed by finials. By far the best history of the Central School #2 can be found in "Building for Learning" meticulously researched by Nile Thompson and Carolyn Marr; this entry has relied on their excellent work.


The building had numerous additions and annexes during its 1889-c. 1962 life span. A small adjoining brick building at 901 Marion Street initially housed Seattle Public School administrators, and, later, the Seattle Public Schools Health Department and, subsequent to that, a Junior Red Cross Clinic. Surrounding churches and a synagogue were rented as annexes for elementary school classes; these included the Freeds Hall, (the meeting place of the Berachah Baptist Church) was the first to be rented in 1890; others included the Newell’s Mill Building (rented c. 1891), Guild Hall Annex (Trinity Church space, rented 1892-1902), Saint Francis Church Annex (5th Street and Olive Street, rented 1892-1902), Saint Francis Hall Annex (Spring Street, between 5th and 6th Streets, rented 1892-1902), Jewish Synagogue Annex (rented 11/1894-06/1905), Saint Marks Annex (rented c. 1899-1902), Brewer’s Hall Annex, (624 1st Avenue, rented 1900-1902), Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church Annex (the Haven Methodist Episcopal Church, Howard Avenue N and John Street, rented 09/1901-1902) and German Church Annex (it is not clear if this annex operated in the First German Methodist Episcopal Church [Howard Avenue North and Stewart Street] or the German Evangelical Lutheran Zion Church [Terry Avenue and Stewart Street], rented 1901-1902). All of the annexes were no longer needed when a new Seattle High School opened in Capitol Hill in 1902, allowing the top floor of the Central School #2 to be devoted to elementary school students. A turreted bell tower that once topped a square appendage to the school's south side fell in a 1933 wind storm.


The Seattle Public Schools wrecked the building in 08/1953.

PCAD id: 15216