AKA: City of Seattle, Parks and Recreation Department, South Lake Union Armory, South Lake Union, Seattle, WA; Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), Building #2, South Lake Union, Seattle, WA

Structure Type: built works - military buildings; built works - social and civic buildings - community centers

Designers: Coughlin Porter Lundeen (CPL), Engineers (firm); Loschky Marquardt and Nesholm (LMN), Architects (firm); Priteca, B. Marcus, Architect (firm); Sellen, John H., Construction Company, Incorporated (firm); James Coughlin (engineer); George Henry Loschky (architect); Terry R. Lundeen (civil engineer); Judsen Robert Marquardt (architect); John Frank Nesholm (architect); Steven Porter (engineer); Barnet Marcus Priteca (architect); John Henry Sellen Sr. (building contractor/civil engineer)

Dates: constructed 1941-1942

4 stories, total floor area: 13,300 sq. ft.

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860 Terry Avenue North
South Lake Union, Seattle, WA 98109-4330

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Building History

The building was first used as an advanced naval training school for members of the US Naval Reserves. Seattle architect B. Marcus Priteca (1889-1971), best known for his movie palace designs, served as the lead designer, along with William R. Grant. The large facility, 133 x 100 feet (approximately 13,300 square feet) covered a lot 1.42 acres in size, located on the south edge of Lake Union. A large sawmill run by the Brace / Hergert Mill Company previously occupied the property; South Lake Union in the early 20th century had a number of manufacturing facilities, including the nearby Ford Motor Company Factory (John Graham and Company, 1913-1914) and a plant for the Pacific Aero Products Company, later known as the Boeing Airplane Company (1915). Priteca and Grant provided a chaste design influenced by Classical precedents, seen in its peristyle of engaged piers and a projecting central bay featuring piers in antis. A gabled field house rose at the center, above the one-story peristyle. This largely unornamented classicism, often mixed with Art Deco geometrical details or Streamlined Moderne window treatments became known as the "PWA/WPA Moderne Style." Construction costs totaled approximately $500,000 and was completed on 07/04/1942. Sources for the funding included $169,980 from the Federal Government's Works Progress Administration (WPA), $6,399 from the State of WA, and $14,204 from the University of Washington, which ran the naval reserve program. The armory was decommissioned in 1998 and then donated to the City of Seattle in 2000. It was used subsequently as a convention center which could be reserved for large groups of people. The Museum of Science and Industry (MOHAI) later acquired the building for its use; MOHAI's previous Paul Thiry-designed building was to be demolished due to the expansion of the approach to the Washington State Route 520 Floating Bridge. MOHAI was set to move into the Naval Reserve Armory by Fall 2012.


The Naval Reserve Building was renovated in 1946. Completed in late 12/2012, LMN Architects supervised the renovation of the armory, working with Sellen Construction, the Seneca Group, Pacific Studio, the Weatherhead Experience Design Group, and engineers Coughlin Porter Lundeen, Incorporated. At this time, Coughlin Porter Lundeen had its headquarters in the Norton Building along with LMN. This team won the 2013 Beth Chave Historic Preservation Award from Historic Seattle for its work.

National Register of Historic Places (July 8, 2009): 9000506 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

Washington Heritage Register: ID n/a

Seattle Historic Landmark: ID n/a

PCAD id: 8912