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Washington Hall

Address:
153 14th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122, United States
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:

About Washington Hall

Built in 1908 by the Danish Brotherhood, Washington Hall has continuously served as a hub for social and cultural activities reflecting a broad array of ethnic communities. This is a building that many have called a home. The story of Washington Hall is a mirror of the changes in the Central District over time, beginning with performances and celebrations from its start as a fraternal lodge and dance hall serving Danish immigrants, then as an affordable rental facility and home for activities for members of the local Jewish, Filipino, African American, Korean, Eritrean, Ethiopian and other communities. Most notably Washington Hall has served as a popular performing arts venue, hosting 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. On the Boards leased the Main Hall from 1978-1998, presenting contemporary performances including the early work of Spalding Grey, Meredith Monk, Mark Morris and many others.

Saving Washington Hall

Although the Hall had been in consistent use as a performance space since its construction in 1908, it had fallen into disrepair and was in danger of demolition before Historic Seattle negotiated a purchase. 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, the Hall’s second owner, for $1.5 million in June 2009. Washington Hall was designated a Seattle Landmark in 2009 and listed in the National Register in 2010.

In May 2016, Historic Seattle completed a restoration funded by a $9.9 million capital campaign to bring new life to Washington Hall. With a phased approach to the rehabilitation of the building, our team completed urgent repairs and addressed safety issues first and then moved on to restoring public and performance spaces. The final phase focused on a significant renovation of the back of the building, a community recording studio, offices, meeting spaces, and rehearsal space. The Hall reopened to the community in June 2016, fully restored.

Current and Future Uses:

Historic Seattle’s vision for Washington Hall was full rehabilitation, allowing it to serve as a permanent home for community arts, heritage, and cultural organizations. With the help of 4Culture, we secured nonprofit arts organizations as anchor groups in the project who are also users of the spaces for rehearsals, offices, and performances. Our anchor groups in the project are three emerging arts organizations with a focus on social justice. These organizations include 206 Zulu, a group that promotes Hip Hop culture; Voices Rising, a youth LGBT music and spoken word organization; and Hidmo, an Eritrean community culture and food group with social justice and arts expression at its core.

After its renovation, the building’s main hall and lodge room began to help address the lack of affordable venues in Seattle. By providing upgraded facilities, we built a self-sustaining operating model that ensures the space can be a vibrant, affordable, diverse arts and cultural facility that serves Seattle and King County’s arts, heritage, and preservation communities.

Following the reopening, Historic Seattle continues – through philanthropic contributions – to make improvements to Washington Hall, ensuring its operation as a comfortable, accommodating gathering space for all.

Associated naming opportunities are available; contact Naomi West, Director of Philanthropy, for more information.

Please see the sidebar for links to the Washington Hall website, where you can find more information about its history, restoration, and anchor partners.

Projects in Development