AKA: University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Raitt, Effie I., Hall, Seattle, WA

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

Designers: Bebb and Gould, Architects (firm); Cawdrey and Vemo, Incorporated, General Contractors (firm); Charles Herbert Bebb ; James William Cawdrey (building contractor); Carl Freylinghausen Gould Sr. (architect); Nels Vernon Nelson (building contractor/carpenter); Bjarne Vemo (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 1915-1917

view all images ( of 1 shown)

Chelan Lane
University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Raitt Hall was erected on the northeast corner of UW's Liberal Arts Quad.


Home Economics Hall and Commerce Hall (1917) were the first two Gothic / Jacobethan buildings composing the Liberal Arts Quadrangle at the University of Washington (UW). These two buildings predated the remarkable Gothic Suzzallo Library, completed in 1927. All three buildings were the work of the Seattle architectural firm of Bebb and Gould, of which Carl Gould, Sr., (1873-1939) was the primary designer. The UW dropped Home Economics from its curriculum after 1980.

In 2015, the Departments of Scandinavian Languages and Literature and DX Arts occupied Raitt Hall.

Building History

Home Economics Hall opened in 04/1917, the first building of the University of Washington's magnificent Liberal Arts Quadrangle. The renowned Seattle architectural firm of Bebb and Gould produced the designs for the first buildings built in the Liberal Arts Quad, including Home Economics Hall, Commerce Hall and Philosophy Hall.

Prior to the construction of the Home Economics Hall #2 on the Liberal Arts Quad. the Home Economics Department occupied a makeshift building, sometimes called "Old Architecture Hall," north of Denny Hall. This building may have been erected as early as 1907, and the Home Economics Department remained here for possibly five years or so. After Home Economics moved out, the Department of Architecture, which had been occupying makeshift space behind Meany Hall #1's stage, moved in and remained for several years. This barracks was demolished between 1921 and 1923, as the UW developed its Memorial Way NE entrance, to commemorate World War I veterans. (See Norman J. Johnston, The College of Architecture and Urban Planning: Seventy Five Years at the University of Washington: A Personal View, [Seatte: University of Washington, 1991], p. 28.)

Conditions in this first home economics facility were bad, and caused UW's Dean of Women, Isabella Mchugh Austin (1872-1915), and the chair of the Home Economics Department, Effie Isobel Raitt (1879-1945), to lobby local citizens and legislators for the construction of a new Home Economics Building. An article in the Seattle Daily Timesof 11/1914 reported: "The Educational Club and the educational department of the Alki Women's Improvement Club spent Friday on the campus and were entertained at luncheon in The Commons. Wednesday afternoon a number of members of the Seattle Association of Collegiate Alumnae visited the buildings and were taken through the Home Economics Department. The various women's organizations of the city are being brought out to the campus as the guests of Miss Isabella Austin, Dean of Women, to see in just what condition women's accomodations are, with a view to obtaining their co-operation when the bills for a new women's building come before the legislature in January." (See "University News," Seattle Daily Times, 11/22/1914, p. 3.) A month later, another group of clubwomen and local residents was taken through the building to demonstrate the conditions which 440 women students had to endure: "Warped floors whose surface resembled a storm-swept sea, bulging walls and broken plaster greeted the visitors everywhere and the general lack of space and equipment was remarked by all. Particularly shocking to women from Eastern colleges, unaccustomed to pioneer conditions in educational institutions, was the old frame shack which houses the home economics department at the local university." (See Helen Ross, "Practical Tests in Home Economics," Seattle Daily Times, 12/03/1914, p. 9.)

The UW, in 1946, renamed the Home Economics Building for the recently deceased Professor Effie Isobel Raitt (born 06/13/1878 in Patterson, IA-d. 12/04/1945 in Seattle, WA), who led the Department of Home Economics for over 30 years. In 1947, the adjoining Commerce-Philosophy pair were renamed "Savery Hall," in honor of Professor William Savery (1875-1945), the first Chair of the Philosophy Department.

Building Notes

The Home Economics Building was ornamented with female gargoyles performing domestic tasks, designed by Gould.

In 1917, the Faculty Women's Club was located in Home Economics Hall. (See "Woman Educator Will Speak Here," Seattle Times, 05/19/1917, p. 2.)


The University of Washington remodeled Raitt Hall in 1956-1957. It is likely this work was done by the Seattle general contractor Cawdrey and Vemo. Nels Nelson of Cawdrey and Vemo worked as the superintendent on this remodeling and renovation project. Architectural historian Cathy Wickwire has written of this 1956-957 project: "Since their construction more than eighty years ago, the three buildings have each undergone extensive interior renovations and remodelings. However, the exteriors have remained largely intact with the exception of window replacements and the construction of a small addition on the rear of Raitt Hall. In December of 1954, the Regents authorized a $309,100 remodel of Raitt (Home Economics) Hall but did not award contracts for the work until December of the following year. By this time, the total cost of the project was expected to be $439,000, which included replacement of the heating, plumbing, ventilating, and electrical systems and modernization of the Commons cafeteria, classrooms and laboratories. By January of 1957, the remodeling of Raitt Hall was nearly completed and the building partially reoccupied." (See Cathy Wickwire, Arai Jackson Ellison Murakami, LLP, "Raitt and Savery Halls Summary of Historical Research," published 03/15/2004, accessed 08/02/2022.)

A remodeling project to Raitt Hall also occurred in 1981. (See “Raitt Hall remodel bidding to university,”Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 05/11/1981, p. 1.)

PCAD id: 8704