AKA: University of Washington, Seattle, Law Building #1, Seattle, WA; University of Washington, Seattle, Gowen, Herbert H., Hall, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - schools - university buildings

Designers: Albertson, Wilson and Richardson, Architects (firm); Madden Construction Company (firm); Abraham Horace Albertson (architect); Madden ; Paul David Richardson (architect); Joseph Wade Wilson (architect)

Dates: constructed 1931-1933

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University of Washington, Seattle, WA

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This quad building was named for John T. Condon, Dean of the University of Washington (UW) Law School, and an early alumnus of the school. At his death, Condon was the Executive Vice-President of the UW.

Building History

This Elizabethan Law School building at the University of Washington was the first Quad building not designed by the Seattle architectural partnership of Charles H. Bebb (1862-1942) and Carl Gould, Sr., (1873-1939). The notable firm of Albertson, Wilson and Richardson, Architects, produced the design for the first dedicated UW Law School building. The firm's senior partner, Abraham H. Albertson, (1872-1964), was about the same age as Gould, Sr., and was also a graduate of a prestigious East Coast architectural school, Columbia University.

Planning for the building started while Governor Roland Hartley (1864-1952) was still in office (a Republican, he was voted out in the FDR landslide of 1932). Hartley had a political grudge against UW President Henry Suzzallo (1875-1933) and Gould, and had both removed from the their UW positions in 1926.

John Thomas Condon, (born 09/20/1863 in Port Gamble, WA Territory-d. 01/05/1926 in Seattle, WA), the second Dean of the UW Law School, passed away from a heart attack while at his residence, at 4710 University Way in Seattle. Condon suffered the heart attack while in his office on 01/04/1926, and was taken to his residence where he was attended to by his personal physician. (See "University Leader Is Stricken in Office," Seattle Times, 01/05/1926, p. 1.)

Condon's death created an outpouring of sadness within the UW community in early 1926, a year that would be particularly hard for the school's faculty. (See, for example, Cliff Harrison, “Lost: A Fried of Athletics,” Seattle Daily Times, 01/06/1926, Sports Section, p. 1 and “Funeral Services Held on Campus for Dean Condon,” Seattle Daily Times, 01/10/1926, p. 2.)Henry Suzzallo, (1875-1933), the UW President, said of him: "Dean Condon was probably one of the greatest influences on the character and ideals of the young men at the university. He was probably the greatest single leavening force for better things in the legal profession because of the influence he had on the young men who were his students. He had a most beneficial influence on affairs outside the university. He took a leading part in the recent reorganization of the five general faculties at the university and had been serving as acting dean of the faculty of social science. As chairman of the board of dean and of the faculty athletic committee he was the largest force in directing undergraduate activities. In addition, he was morally interested in every aspect of the public affairs.” (See University of Michigan Law School.edu, “Student Profile: John Thomas Condon, Class of: 1891,” accessed 09/25/2020. This quote was reprinted from an obituary that appeared in The Michigan Alumnus, vol. 32. 1926, p. 353.)

The name of Condon Hall #1 was changed officially to "Herbert Henry Gowen Hall" on 07/20/1977. This helped differentiate the old Law School Building from the new one completed in 1974, designed by the Philadelphia firm of Mitchell-Giurgola. Gowen had been a fixture on the campus for 35 years, founding the Department of Oriental Studies in 1909, the year of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. He also was the rector of several local churches and became a popular lecturer on Asian culture in Seattle, having lived there some years as a missionary. He was also the father of longtime Department of Architecture Professor, Lance E. Gowen (1874-1958), who enjoyed a successful 30-year career at the UW.

Building Notes

In the early 1960s, a small controversy broke out on campus regarding the walkway pavements outside Condon Hall #1 and other buildings of the UW Liberal Arts Quadrangle. The University wanted to use asphalt to pave the walkways, while students lobbied to have bricks used. Patterned brickwork of a sand base would cost about $15,000 more. The Seattle Daily Times reported in an article of 04/20/1962: "Proponents of brick pathways today won the first round of a controversy on paving in the University of Washington Quadrangle. University officials instructed contractors to delay paving paths with asphalt pending the outcome of an administrative review. A study will be made of the cost factors of resurfacing the walks with brick on a sand base, Ernest M. Conrad, business manager, said. The action followed protests regarding plans for blacktopping paths during the next several years, when there will be extensive utility-line installations. Students favoring brick walks have been working closely with the administration since Wednesday when they presented Dr. Charles E. Odegaard, university president, with petitions containing 4,000 signatures opposing asphalt paving. Late Wednesday night a four-foot brick wall was erected in front of the main entrance to the administration building. In front was message, 'We Want Brick!'--spelled out in brick. Anti-blacktop leaders denied any association with the wall." (See "Asphalt Foes at U. of W. Win First Round," Seattle Daily Times, 04/20/1962, p. 13.)


Condon Hall #1 underwent remodeling work in 1959-1960 and 1974. In 1959-1960, the Madden Construction Company undertook $138,112 worth of alterations. (See "Regents Approve Building Plans, Seattle Times, 06/21/1958, p. 3.)

PCAD id: 7966