Photo: Seattle Muncipal Archives/Flickr

In the summer of 1909, a world’s fair, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, took place on the grounds of the University of Washington. The fair shaped the campus landmarks, creating Rainier Vista and Drumheller Fountain. Landscaping for the fair was done by the famous firm of Olmsted Brothers, whose plan influenced all later designs for the campus.

Denny Hall, University of Washington


Photo: Seattle Public Library

In April of 1861, Arthur and Mary Denny, Charles and Mary Terry, and Edward Lander deeded 10 acres overlooking Elliott Bay that would be used to establish the first University of Washington campus. A month later, the beginnings of the first territorial University building was laid. This campus was used until 1894. Today, it is currently the site of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel on University Street in downtown Seattle. When the first building of the what was to become University of Washington’s permanent campus was built, it was named Denny Hall after the donor who made it all possible.

Denny Hall under construction, 1895


Photo: Seattle Public Library

The architect Charles W. Saunders constructed the building from Enumclaw sandstone and pressed brick, with terra cotta details in a single year. According to HistoryLink, by September 1895, Denny Hall’s 35 rooms were opened to a 200-person student body. Denny Hall housed all six of the university’s colleges in six laboratories, a library with 60 chairs, a museum, faculty rooms, professor’s studies, a music room, a student lounge and a 700-seat lecture hall.

Henry Suzzalo Memorial Library, 1926


Photo: Seattle Public Library

In 1915, Henry Suzzallo was appointed President of the University. He decided to make a new library building one of his top priorities. When planning began in 1922, Suzzallo envisioned a library that was to be “the soul of the university.”

Henry Suzzalo Memorial Library, 1984


Photo: Seattle Public Library

The library was designed in collegiate gothic style by Seattle architects Carl F. Gould, Sr. and Charles H. Bebb. Ground was broken for the new library in 1923.

“Thought,” “Inspiration,” and “Mastery,” Suzzallo Library


Photo: Seattle Public Library

The artist Allan Clark sculpted 18 ornate historical figures on the exterior of the library. The people depicted include Moses, Louis Pasteur, Dante, Shakespeare, Plato, Benjamin Franklin, Justinian, Sir Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo,Goethe, Herodotus, Adam Smith, Homer, Gutenberg, Beethoven, Darwin and Grotius. He also built three others symbolically named “Thought,” “Inspiration,” and “Mastery.”

Suzzallo Library Reading Room, 2011


Photo: Alex/Flickr

According to historians at the University of Washington, a 1927 article in The Pacific Builder and Engineer stated that “This room has been pronounced by experts to be the most beautiful on the continent and is ranked among the most beautiful in the world.” The bookcases are quintessentially Washingtonian with hand-carved friezes representing native plants of Washington State, including salal, Douglas fir, scrub oak, grape, dogwood, mountain ash, rhododendron, pear, trillium, salmon berry, wild rose, apple, marigold, cantaloupe, tulip and cherry.

Parrington Hall, 1984


Photo: Seattle Public Library

Parrington Hall is named for American literary historian and University of Washington alumni, Vernon Louis Parrington. His three-volume history of American letters, Main Currents in American Thought, won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1928.

Old Meany Hall, 1909


Photo: Seattle Public Library

The original Meany Hall building was situated between Memorial Way and 15th Avenue, directly across from Suzzallo Library. The architects for the original building were Howard & Galloway, and it was built for a cost of $181,000. From 1909 to 1965, Meany had the largest capacity of any building on campus with 2,600 seats. It originally served as an athletic arena where boxing matches and other competitions were held. After the Alaska-Yukon exposition, the hall was used for student assemblies and for music and drama performances.

Red Square, 1984


Photo: Seattle Public Library

In 1969, the field in front of the Suzzallo Library was excavated and an underground parking garage and iconic red bricks were installed.

Husky Stadium, 1950


Photo: Seattle Public Library

Between 1949 and 1950, Seattle architect George Wellington Stoddard supervised the construction of the stadium’s new covered, southside stands, containing 15,000 more seats and a press box, at a cost of $1.7 million.

Rainier Vista, 2007


Photo: David Brodbeck/Flickr

Thanks to the design genius of John C. Olmsted, University of Washington students now enjoy a full symmetrical view of Mt. Rainier on clear Seattle days. Original plans did not align with the mountain, suggesting that it may have been hiding behind fog clouds on his first visit.

Go Dawgs!

Developments featured in this article

More Like This

Facebook Chatter