AKA: City of Seattle, Public Library (SPL), Henry, Susan J., Memorial Branch, Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA; Seattle Public Library, Henry, Susan J., Memorial Branch, Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - libraries

Designers: Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson, (NBBJ) (firm); William James Bain Sr. (architect); Clifton J. Brady (architect); Perry Bertil Johanson (architect); Floyd Archibald Naramore (architect)

Dates: constructed 1953-1954, demolished 2001

1 story, total floor area: 4,904 sq. ft.

425 Harvard Avenue East
Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA 98102

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The Susan Henry Branch Library occupied the southwest corner of Harvard Avenue East and East Republican Street.

Building History

The building was erected in memory of Susan J. Henry (d. 1921), wife of the Seattle businessman, Horace C. Henry (1844–1928), who worked in railroad construction. Her sons donated their parents' house and property in 1934, with the proviso that a memorial library branch be erected there. The library sold this land, feeling that its location was not appropriate, and bought another lot nearby at Harvard Avenue East and East Republican Street in 1953.

This was one of three libraries--Henry, Northeast, and Greenwood--built with $570,000 set aside by the Seattle City Council in 1953. Prior to this, two library bond issues failed in 1950 and 1952, yet the city had not built a new branch since 1921. For this reason, these funds were considered very important. This branch opened on 08/26/1954.

Building Notes

The basement of the Henry Branch housed the Seattle Public Library's Bookmobile service from 1954 until 1957. The Library for the Blind, also occupied space in this lower level from 1954 until 1973. The Library for the Blind was not part of the Seattle Public Library system, but rather had been associated since 1931 with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. It obtained its own facility at 2021 9th Avenue in Seattle, later renamed the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL).


The Susan J. Henry Branch of the Seattle Public Library closed on 11/03/2001, and was demolished shortly thereafter.

PCAD id: 8622