AKA: University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Auditorium Building, Seattle, WA; University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Meany Hall #1, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - exhibition buildings - exposition buildings; built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Howard and Galloway, Architects and Engineers (firm); John Debo Galloway (structural engineer); John Galen Howard (architect)

Dates: constructed 1908-1909, demolished 1965

view all images ( of 5 shown)

4040 George Washington Lane Northeast
University of Washington Campus, Seattle, WA 98195

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
The AYPE Auditorium was located about 400 feet due north of the Fine Arts Pavilion, set back from 15th Avenue NE and to the east of the AYPE Administration Building.


This grand auditorium building, designed by the noted San Francisco firm of Howard and Galloway, served the UW community from 1909 until c. 1965, when the Olympia Earthquake of 04/29/1965 severely damaged Meany Hall #1. Following this event, the outmoded facility was hastily razed, allowing for a large-scale remodel of what became Red Square. Its style and brickwork related directly to the AYPE Fine Arts Pavilion to the south by the same architectural-engineering firm.

Building History

The supervising architectural and engineering firm of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE), Howard and Galloway of San Francisco, designed the Auditorium in 1907-1908. It was constructed hastily in 1908-1909, and used for many years for large campus gatherings. The Western Architect, in its review of AYPE architecture, said of the Auditorium: "The auditorium, Howard and Galloway, architects, is of brick construction and will be used by the University of Washington at the close of the fair. The building will seat 2,500 persons. It has a well lighted basement above ground used for class rooms and the offices of the University. On the main floor is a platform suitable for concerts, commencement exercises and entertainments." (See "Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle, Washington," Western Architect, v. 14 no. 1, 07/1909, p. 6)

Earthquakes in 1949 and 1965 undermined its condition. Following World War II, Howard and Galloway's two exposition pavilions, the Fine Arts Museum (later Architecture Hall) and the Auditorium, were the only Beaux-Arts Classical buildings on the UW Campus. The two buildings, designed to be permanent parts of the University of Washington after the fair, had a strong Beaux-Arts Classical resemblance and created an important ensemble for the new campus.

John Galen Howard (1864-1931), the founder of the University of California's Department of Architecture, designed a variety of buildings for the UC Berkeley Campus, including the Hearst Greek Theatre (1903), templar Doe Library (1906-1911) and the Hearst Memorial Mining Building, to name three.

It was named for an avid outdoorsman and beloved professor of botany and history, Edmond S. Meany (1862–1935), who was instrumental in securing the university's second campus in 1893. It was named for him in 1935 shortly after his death (which occurred in Denny Hall of a stroke as he prepared a lecture).

Building Notes

The Seattle Times noted that by late 1909, students were calling the University of Washington's Auditorium Building, "Meany Hall." It stated in its issue of 12/12/1909: "With the passing of football from the center of the arena at the state university and with the advent of winter, students are now turning their attention to the indoor activities and are already planning two features for the present month, one of a dramatic and one of a musical nature. Denny Field has lost the glamour for the time being, and the Auditorium, or 'Meany Hall,' as it has been christened by the students, is the scene of interest." (See "Oratorio Planned by University Students," Seattle Times, 12/12/1909, p. 11.) In early 1910, the Board of Regents rejected a student petition to rename the building after Meany. (See "Auditorium Not to Bear Meany's Name," Seattle Times, 01/26/1910, p. 1.)

Students persisted in their efforts to have the building renamed for him, and created another petition requesting that the building be renamed "Meany Hall" after Edmond S. Meany's death. (See "Students Press Name of Meany for Honor," Seattle Times, 02/25/1910, p. 16.) Regardless of the Board's immediate response, common parlance referred to the building as "Meany Hall" by 1911. (See "Law-Compilers Get Glad Hand on Friday, Jan. 6," Seattle Times, 01/01/1911, p. 27.)

According to the WPA Washington: Guide to the Evergreen State (1941), Meany Hall #1's lobby featured portraits painted by Morgan Grassie Padelford (1902-1994) of Meany and others, and "the basement contains the University broadcasting studio, connected by direct wire with all Seattle stations, which carries a variety of programs throughout the college year." (See Writer's Program Washington, Washington, a Guide to the Evergreen State, [Portland, OR: Binfords and Mort, 1941], p. 235.)

As early as the late 1940s, the Auditorium was showing its age, and the University of Washington administration quiety drew up plans to tear the aging structure down. Money could not be found for this purpose until 1965, however, when a large earthquake structurally compromised the building, rendering it uninhabitable. Using emergency funding, the University of Washington could finally raze the building and replace its with a new underground parking garage and theatre.


Meany Hall underwent $49,954 worth of remodeling work in 1958-1959. The building contractor was the Shuck Construction Company. The B.F. Shearer Company installed new seats costing $22,409 at this time. (See "Regents Approve Building Plans," Seattle Times, 06/21/1958, p. 3.)


Meany Hall #1 was badly damaged in the magnitude 6.7 Olympia Earthquake on 04/29/1965. Demolition occurred by 08/1865. (See Nicolette Bromberg, Picturing the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: The Photographs of Frank H. Nowell, [Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009], p.42). Meany Hall had been in disrepair for some time before the 1965 quake, and the UW had looked for ways of removing it and building a more modern auditorium that could be used for musical, dance and theatrical performances. (UW architectural historian Norman Johnston indicated that it was "already partially condemned due to safety considerations...." See Norman Johnston, Campus Guide the University of Washington, [New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2001], p. 47.) Meany Hall #2 replaced it in nearly the same location.

PCAD id: 5179