|Address: 153 14th Ave|
Date Built: 1908
Original Architect/Builder: Victor Voorhees (architect)/Hans Pederson (builder)
Original Owners: Danish Brotherhood in America, Seattle Lodge #29
Description: Early 20th century fraternal lodge and dance hall. Eclectic architectural style with Mission Revival and Romanesque Revival elements.
Historic Seattle's Role:
Washington Hall / Photo: Marissa Natkin
Historic Seattle’s Role:
Built in 1908 by the Danish Brotherhood in America, Washington Hall housed the needs of its growing fraternal lodge. The building has served as a fraternal lodge, settlement house and center for social and cultural activities of Seattle’s Danish immigrant population and many other ethnic groups. Many Seattleites remember Washington Hall for its status as a popular performing arts venue. From 1908 until 2001, the hall was rented out for music and theatrical performances. Musicians and speakers such as Marian Anderson, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Jimi Hendrix, W.E.B. du Bois, Marcus Garvey and Joe Louis used Washington Hall as their venue. The building was also known as a “public dance hall” and was a popular gathering place for the local community.
With contributions from 4Culture and a short term loan from Key Bank, Historic Seattle was able to purchase Washington Hall from the Sons of Haiti for $1.5 million in June of 2009. The Hall has consistently functioned as a performance space since its construction in 1908 but had fallen into disrepair in the last few decades and was in danger of demolition before Historic Seattle negotiated a purchase.
Current and Future Uses:
Washington Hall Interior / Photo: Dan Hawkins
The long term vision for the property is full rehabilitation and a permanent home for community arts, culture and heritage organizations. With the help of 4Culture, Historic Seattle has secured nonprofit arts/culture organizations as anchor tenants/partners in the project who are also users of the spaces for rehearsals, offices, and performances. Through our own investment and grant awards from 4Culture, Washington State Historical Society and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Seattle brought the building back to working order in Spring of 2010, completing phase one of a multi-phase project. Historic Seattle recently commissioned a comprehensive feasibility study for Washington Hall, which indicated strong support for a $9.5 million capital campaign, of which approximately $4 million would come from private gifts and grants. The project is a high priority because when fully renovated, the building's 350-capacity main hall and lodge room will help ameliorate the lack of affordable venues in Seattle. The two historic spaces are currently available for rental now but a full renovation is still greatly needed. By providing upgraded facilities, we will build a self-sustaining operating model that will ensure the space can be a vibrant, affordable, diverse arts and cultural facility that serves Seattle and King County's arts, heritage and preservation communities.
Go to www.washingtonhall.org for rental information and more about the project and history of Washington Hall.