AKA: University National Bank, Headquarters, University District, Seattle, WA; Pacific National Bank of Seattle, Branch, University District, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - banks (buildings)

Designers: Beezer Brothers, Architects (firm); Louis Beezer (architect); Michael J. Beezer (architect)

Dates: constructed 1912

2 stories, total floor area: 25,767 sq. ft.

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4500 University Way NE
University District, Seattle, WA 98105-4511

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Building History

The University State Bank incorporated on 08/12/1906, with Watson Allen serving as President, and J.B. Gibbons, the Cashier. A.F. Nichols, J.C. Norton, John F. Main, and E.L. Mann formed the first board of directors and pooled $25,000 in lending capital. The bank occupied two locations prior to building this Neo-classical building on the northeast corner of NE 45th Street and University Way NE, one in a storefront at 4143 University Way NE and the next at 4124 University Way NE. The Beezer Brothers, Architects, who relocated to Seattle from Pittsburgh, PA, in 1907, designed a new and larger headquarters, built of steel and concrete, completed in 1912. The gleaming white bank, sheathed in a skin of terra cotta tiles, replaced a fraternity house that had once stood on the property.

The banking room occupied the first floor, while offices and a ballroom were arrayed on the second. Sororities and fraternities staged dances in this second-floor ballroom.

Ten years after formation, the bank had $500,000 in assets, and George F. Lear was the president, E.O. Eastwood, vice-president, and Harry B. Lear, cashier. The younger Lear would take over as president by the following year. By early 1922, the bank became a member of the Federal Reserve System, and changed its name to the "University National Bank." As noted in an adverstisement announcing the changes, the board consisted of Harry B. Lear, president, A.W. Hogue, vice-president, C.W. Davis, vice-president, A.W. Tenney, cashier and E.A. Cook, assistant cashier. The Directors included Lear, Hogue, Davis, E.O. Eastwood and W.C. Bayles. (See "We Announce" advertisement, Seattle Star, 04/01/1922, p. 14.)

Lear consolidated his bank with the Pacific National Bank in 1955, with him continuing to lead the new entity. The Pacific National Bank of Seattle was renamed the Pacific National Bank of Washington in 1970. Pacific National Bank of Washington, was, in turn gobbled up by First Interstate Bank of Washington in 1981, which was, itself, swallowed by Wells Fargo and Company in 1996.

Well Fargo occupied this prime location until 2018. It was up for lease in early 2019. (Thank you to Larry Johnson, Architect, for sending much of this above information to the author on 01/16/2019.)

Building Notes

This masonry, Neo-classical bank building occupied an 8,010-square-foot (0.18-acre) lot in 2010, located on the northeast corner of the busy intersection of NE 45th Street and University Way NE. The bank contained 25,767 gross square feet, 22,373 net, at this time.

It contained a sculpture by University of Washington art school graduate Charles W. Smith, entitled, "Study of Circles and Angles."

Tels: (206) 545-3578‎ or (206) 545-3592‎ (2009); the bank and its land had a value of $3,054,400 in 2010.


According to the King County Department of Assessments, changes were made to the bank building beginning in late 2017. The Assessor record said: "Construct alterations to existing commercial building (Wells Fargo) and remove and infill adjacent room below grade in alley, per plan." (See King County Department of Assessments.gov, "Parcel data for Parcel 881640-0105," accessed 01/27/2020.)