Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools

Designers: Carkeek, Morgan J., Building Contractor (firm); Parkinson, John, Architect (firm); Saunders and Lawton, Architects (firm); Stephen, James, Architect (firm); Morgan James Carkeek (building contractor); George Willis Lawton (architect); John Parkinson (architect); Charles Willard Saunders (architect); James Stephen (architect)

Dates: constructed 1893-1894, demolished 1955

2 stories

view all images ( of 2 shown)

1255 Harrison Street
Cascade, Seattle, WA 98109

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map


This load-bearing masonry school served the Seattle Public School District from 1894 until 1949, and was constructed in three building phases. It was a designed produced by John Parkinson, who also was responsilble for the B.F. Day School and the Pacific School. Wings were added in 1898 and 1904. The Seattle Earthquake of 1949 caused serious structural damage that necessitated its closure.

Building History

The English-born architect John Parkinson (1861-1935) worked in Seattle, WA, between 1889-1894, and produced the original design for the Cascade School just before relocating his practice to Los Angeles, CA. The Parkinson-designed section was small, with six classrooms and space for 200 students. The original location for the Cascade School was on a 2.1-acre block surrounded by Harrison Street on the north, Pontius Avenue North on the west, Thomas Street on the south, and Yale Avenue North on the east. In 1920, a .5-acre playfield was added across Pontius Street.

For a brief time beginning on 03/07/1903, school administrators renamed the Cascade School, the "Franklin School," but its name was returned to the original by 09/01/1903.


The first portion of the building was designed by Parkinson and completed in 1894. Many factories--a large lumber mill and brewery among others--located in the Cascade District on the south end of Lake Union during the 1890s, causing the working class population to grow steadily. To accommodate the influx of new children,

In 1898, Seattle architects Saunders and Lawton designed an addition to the Cascade School. . An article in the Seattle Times stated on 04/09/1898: "The Board this evening will examine plans subsmitted for an addition to the Cascade School to cost $25,000." (See "Teachers Petition," Seattle Times, 04/09/1898, p. 8.) The district solicited bids for the project in the Seattle Times by 04/23/1898; the bidding process closed on 05/02/1898. Historian Thompson and Marr in their exhaustive Building for Learning: Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000(Seattle: Seattle Public Schools, 2002), indicated that this 1898 addition contained 10 classrooms; the bid published 04/23/1898, indicated that it was for an "8-roomed addition." (See "Notice to Builders," Seattle Times, 04/23/1898, p. 17.) Morgan J. Carkeek, building contractor apparently won the bidding on this addition; the Seattle Times stated in 06/1898: "Morgan J. Carkeek reported that he had entered upon his duties as superintendent of construction on the addition to the Cascade School Building." (See "School Board's Meeting," Seattle Times, 06/08/1898, p. 8.)

Four years later, James Stephen (1858-1938), the Seattle district's architect, made an eight-room addition to the north end. The Seattle Times reported in 03/1904: "Bids will be opened at a meeting of the Seattle school board next Monday night for the construction of an eight-room addition to the Cascade school building. The plans for the addition were drawn by James Stephens, architect, and the contract will probably be the largest single contract for construction work let by the school board this year." (See "Contract To Be Let," Seattle Times, 03/24/1904, p. 7.) An article in the Seattle Times on 09/02/1904 indicated that this addition would not be completed until 10/1904. (See "Big Increase in Force," Seattle Times, 09/02/1904, p. 4.) In years following, portable classrooms were trucked in to meet increasing student demand.

The Cascade School experienced significant structural damage in the Seattle Earthquake of 04/13/1949, but even before the earthquake, operations were winding down here, with only 7 of the building's 24 rooms were in use. With its flaws becoming ever more apparent and possibly dangerous, school district administrators deactivated it as a school on 04/25/1949. The Seattle Public Schools utilized the empty building as a supply warehouse for approximately six years before ordering its demolition.


Torn down in 01-021955, the Cascade School was replaced on the same site by the Seattle Public School District's notable, thin-shell Central Supply Center, designed by Jack Christiansen (b. 1927). This later building also served as a warehouse. An article in the Seattle Times, "It's Farewell to Cascade School," commemorated the school's demolition, reporting how retired Cascade teachers gathered to walk its halls one last time. (See "It's Farewell to Cascade School," Seattle Times, 01/21/1955, p. 19.) The Seattle Public School Central Supply Center was itself torn down amidst some controversy in 2016, during the rush to rebuild the South Lake Union/Cascade neighborhoods.

PCAD id: 6643