AKA: Japanese Buddhist Church, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - religious structures - churches

Designers: Saunders and Lawton, Architects (firm); George Willis Lawton (architect); Charles Willard Saunders (architect)

Dates: constructed 1906-1908

1020 South Main Street
First Hill, Seattle, WA

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Completed in 1908, the first Buddhist Temple in Seattle, was one of the earliest built in the US. Only a handful of other Buddhist houses of worship predated it, including one in San Francisco and one in New York. An article, reprinted from the Louisville Herald, appeared in the Seattle Times with the racist title, "Buddhist Temple for New York Japs," in 1904; it stated: "A number of Japanese residents of New York who are members of the Buddhist alliance have made considerable progress toward the creation of a Buddhist temple at the American metropolis. Already $20,000 has been subscribed and a site in Harlem has been selected. The leader is a Mr. Suzukios [sic], who is a graduate of Columbia University. One Buddhist church already exsits at San Francisco." (See "Buddhist Temple for New York Japs," Seattle Daily Times, 07/27/1904, p. 5.)


Yesler Terrace was built on or near the site of the Seattle Buddhist Church #1. The construction of Yesler Terrace was considered a high priority for national defense as the threat of war with Japan and Germany grew.

PCAD id: 18505