Washington Hall and Nuke Building updates

There's progress to report on efforts to save two Seattle landmarks.
Crosscut archive image.

Washington Hall in Seattle's Central District. (Chuck Taylor)

There's progress to report on efforts to save two Seattle landmarks.

One of the more exciting city historic landmark nominations in recent history will be up before the landmarks board on Nov. 19: Washington Hall. Washington Hall is an extraordinary embodiment of local heritage and ethnic and cultural diversity, the antithesis of the image of "white bread" Seattle. Built by Danish veterans of the U.S. Civil War and later sold to an African-American masonic lodge, the Central District institution had played an amazing role in the cultural life of the city: a venue for music and jazz performances — Jimi Hendrix and Billie Holiday performed there, and it was home of On the Boards for years. In addition to being a venue for many other schools, events, performances, and organizations it also has served as a synagogue and still serves as an Ethiopian Orthodox church. My summary doesn't do it justice: check out the landmark application here[pdf].

Washington Hall should be a slam-dunk for landmark status due to its local cultural and historic significance. It also demonstrates one of the strengths of the landmarks program, which requires proponents to research, dig out, and awaken us all to a city history that is sometimes hidden or taken for granted, and often more complex than we knew.

Meanwhile, proponents of saving the University of Washington Nuclear Reactor Building (More Hall Annex) have a new website up and running, which includes a link to a You Tube video about a balloon art demonstration that took place there. And they are encouraging supporters to send in creative design ideas for future uses of the structure.

In addition, they have a poster and a slogan, inspired by the Nuke Building's lead designer, legendary Northwest architect Wendell Lovett. "Lovett and Leave it!" is the new battle cry.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.