Structure Type: built works - exhibition buildings - exposition buildings

Designers: State of California, Department of Engineering, Department of Architecture, Sellon, George, State Architect (firm); Edward Charles Hemmings (architect); George Clinton Sellon (architect)

Dates: constructed 1908-1909, demolished 1915

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University of Washington, Seattle, WA

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Located at the site of the present-day University of Washington Communications Building.


This Mission Revival exposition pavilion showcased the natural sites, produce and manufactured items available in the State of California. Architects of the State of California E.C. Hemmings and George C. Sellon designed the state exhibits building.

Building History

The Calfiornia State Building at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE) was designed by the State of Calfiornia's architects Edward Charles Hemmings (1874-1924) and George C. Sellon (1881-1954). As the California State Pavilion at the fair, it showcased agricultural and manufactured products as well as the state's natural resources and tourist sites. The pavilion featured a cow made of almonds, an elephant constructed of English walnuts and a bear composed of raisins among its agricultural exhibits.

A 01/14/1909 note in the Santa Cruz Sentinel indicated that the building's exterior had largely been completed, and that the interior was about ready to be started: "California's building at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909 is about ready to receive the interior finishing. The building is of Spanish mission architecture." (See untitled item, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 01/14/1909, p. 8.) A map of the AYPE grounds indicated that the California Pavilion had been finished in 01/1909. (See University of Washington Libraries, Special, Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), "Map of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle, 1909," ID #2019.3.45, accessed 05/21/2024.)

The building was pressed into use after the fair as a storage and exhibition space for ethnographic items held by the Washington State Museum, which had no dedicated home. Due to structural problems, the collections were removed from California Building to the Forestry Building. The California Building was razed by university officials in 1915.

Building Notes

The two-floor AYPE California Building was a wood-frame structure, its wood siding covered in stucco. The roof's center was glazed, and open balconies surrounded a central atrium. In the atrium, a large model of a domed building stood in the center.

In late 01/1909, the California Senate passed a resolution paying for an official committee to represent the State of California at the AYPE. An article in the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported: “A joint resolution to provide an appropriation of $5000 to pay the expenses of a committee to represent the state at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exposition at Seattle next June, was introduced today in the senate. It calls for the appointment of five senators and five assemblymen who, with the lieutenant governor and the speaker, shall be members of the official party.” (See “Plan California A.-Y.-P. Party” Spokane Spokesman-Review, 01/30/1909, p. 12.)

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported on 01/14/1909: "September 9, 1909, will be California Day at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The same day will be observed as San Francisco day. This will be the anniversary of the date the State was admitted to the Union." (See untitled item, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 01/14/1909, p. 8.)


The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition's California Building was razed in 1915.

PCAD id: 7082