King Dome

One of Seattle’s most loved and hated buildings all at the same time was the King County Multi Purpose Domed Stadium, better known as the King Dome. Funded in 1968 with a $40 million public bond, the dome was completed in in 1972. Home of the Seattle Seahawks, Sonics, and most famously, Mariners, the stadium was truly one of the iconic buildings of Seattle (though perhaps more for its ugly concrete exterior and even uglier astro-turf field)

The stadium was opened by the Mariners on May 17, 1976 drew 54,000 fans. Several iconic sports moments took place in the Dome including “The Double” in the 1995 ALCS win over the hated New York Yankees. I may or may not have cried while watching this:

There were good memories and there were bad. Through much of the King Domes service, the Seattle teams that called it home were the basement dwellers of their respective leagues. This coupled with speakers positioned so low that baseballs famously got stuck in them and falling roof panels made the King Dome one of the sadder sports stadiums in the US.

By the late ’90s the owners and fans of the three major sports franchises in Seattle were sick of the outdated stadium. In 2000, after nearly 25 years of service, the King Dome was torn down in spectacular fashion. Here is some footage:

Though many hated the King Dome during its reign (sorry, I had to), it is often looked back at fondly by Seattlites as the stadium that saved sports in Seattle.


Here are some great resources from the UW Libraries:

Anthropology Building

As many of you know, Denny hall is UW’s first structure that was built back in 1894. It was named after Arthur Denny (the person who donated the space for the construction of the building). Although the building was initially called “Administration building” it changed to “Denny” since he was the one who donated and cleared the land for the construction of the building. The architect responsible for its construction was Charles W. Saunders. I found some of his architectural drawings of the rear north elevation that date back to 1894. Charles designs or architectural style is French Renaissance. I posted some actual images of the building being constructed during that time.

Architectural Drawings (Denny Hall)

Architectural Drawings (Denny Hall)

Construction site (Denny Hall)

Construction site (Denny Hall)

A few years after its construction, I found images of a large auditorium that was located at the bottom floor of the building which dates back to 1905. The building had a total capacity of 600-800 students. The interior of the building also included a large library which was the only one available on campus at the time. According to the information that I found, the library system contained about 6000 volumes.

Auditorium (Denny hall)

Auditorium (Denny hall)

Library (Denny Hall)

Library (Denny Hall)

The building also contained different exhibits and science labs owned by the young naturalist society. The collection included different rock specimens (geology), small section on native American artifacts and animals (ducks, crabs). these collections were eventually moved to another building (i.e. Burke museum) in 1962.

Exhibit (Denny hall)

Exhibit (Denny hall)

Exhibit part 2 (Denny Hall)

Exhibit part 2 (Denny Hall)

Exhibit part 3 (Denny Hall)

Exhibit part 3 (Denny Hall)

Although I found a wide variety of resources (e.g. articles about the building, pictures of the construction, architectural drawings, images of the interior and exterior part of the building as well as students) I couldn’t find maps of the land. I found multiple images of the building at different times but I noticed that the land looks significantly different in some of them. Maps could help me understand how the landscape changed over time.


A Brief Overview of the History of Gas Works Park



I happen to have many fond memories of Gas Works Parks over the years, running around the old machinery, rolling down the large hill at high speeds and of course gazing out onto the skyline of Seattle like Gatsby looking for Daisy. However the monolith that is the gas works building has remained an enigma to me and hopefully through this post a little bit of how it became the urban park it is today will be told.


First of all a quick overview of its dirty past. Gas Works Park was formerly known under the Seattle Gas Light Company and soon changing its name to the “Seattle Gas Company” in 1930 up until 1956 when it was disbanded. As for the plant itself that was integral in giving large amounts of power for lighting, heating and other various uses through its “coal-to-gas” machinery. However by 1956 this all became obsolete and the land the park would be built on was left abandoned until it changed hands and the deed to the plant’s land was handed over to the City of Seattle in 1962. The plot of land itself was in a valuable area when it was first built had been popular before with loggers so already the land had seen heavy use before the city decided to take on the project.

Gas Works 2002

Aerial Map of Gas Works Park from August 2002. Credit to “”

These two maps show the present and past layouts (right after the City of Seattle had bought the property0 of Gas Works. Notice the lack of a majority of buildings and the large grassy areas now present. Hard to imagine that this once industrial work horse is now a public space. There is still a strong shipping scene on both sides of the area even into the present day.

Gas Works 1965 "Credit to"

“Aerial view of the Seattle Gas Works, 1965; from the City of Seattle, Parks and Recreation Department”

Credit to

Now this 20.5 acre plot was given over to the architect Richard Haag (as many may already know was a professor at the UW in architecture) in order to turn the building into a public landscape. Although many of the pipes and machinery were kept intact and left in a dormant state, it was also restricted in how much the public has access to it against Haag’s wishes. Today the park remains popular with tourists and locals alike and I won’t lie, I plan on having a picnic there this Thursday.

One thing I didn’t really realize was how polluted the area still is. According to link followed at the water is hazardous and forbidden from entry. Granted it should have been expected from an older gas company that used coal as its main fuel source and apparently it switched from oil over to coal in 1937 which, according to the article on Wallingford history, any basements excavated will hold traceable amounts of the pollution from the Gas Plant when it was still functional. However Haag as an architect seemed like the right choice as the park was built in a fashion to expedite environmental healing such as its hills and drainage options. The famous zodiac sundial (that I can never get to work because it is always too cloudy) was installed by Charles Greening and overlooks the famous Seattle skyline at the highest point the public can walk on.

Gas Works 2001

Gas Works Park, October 2001 Photo by Priscilla Long

This is a common view of Gas Works today though you won’t view the over grown grass and weeds just past the fence that doesn’t prevent the graffiti. Its rather dirty history does encourage me a bit that such a pollution causing area was turned into a public park. I still plan on rolling down the hills this Thursday though.


Direct Url References linked from (photos should have their urls and references with them)

The Evolution of the Seattle Public Library Site

01 Full View-compressed

    The block which is now occupied by the Seattle’s Central Public Library is bounded by 4th and 5th avenues and Spring and Madison streets. This parcel of land has gone through many changes since it first become a part of the City of Seattle. Originally the area around this block was part of the claims of C. D. Boren, A. A. Denny H. L. Yesler. In 1875 this area, from what is now Yesler Way to Seneca Street between 1st Avenue and 10th Avenue, was added to the then Town of Seattle. On the plat map for this Addition the block I am investigating (No. 19) was laid out as a “Public Square”.

02_Library Block-compressed

            The noble dream of that Public Square apparently did not last very long. The Sandborn fire insurance map of 1883 shows a number of private structures occupying the block less than a decade later. The most substantial of these buildings was the mansion of Seattle attorney James McNaught. By the time the Seattle Public Library was seeking a site to construct the new Carnegie funded library in 1902 this grand house had already evolved. First it had been used as the first home of the Rainier Club and when the city purchased the entire block for $100,000 it was a boarding house.

Sanborn 1893-compressed      Carnagie_Madison_McNaughty Mansion&Providence Hosp_1891

            Our first Public Library on this site was a massive building in the Beaux-Arts style designed by Chicago architect Peter J. Weber. It was dedicated on December 19, 1906. The construction and furnishing of the library was paid for with a grant of $220,000 from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The negotiations that lead to this sizable sum produced the largest grant made by Carnegie to any city except Washington D.C. and his hometown of Pittsburgh up until that time.


            Although in its day the Carnegie Library of Seattle’s 55,000 square feet of floor space was impressive by the early 1950s it had become seriously out of date and overcrowded. The voters of Seattle approved a bond issue to construct a replacement building in 1956. This second generation of the Central Library was designed by Leonard Bindon and John L. Wright and provided 206,000 square feet to house the ever expanding collections and facilities of the Seattle Public Library.

2nd Building_-4th&Madison-june-1-1960-goweyweb1

            Moving the Seattle Public Library into the 21st century voters approved a bond measure to renovate the system that included funding to replace the downtown library building. The current incarnation on the site of Block No. 19 of the 1875 Addition to the Town of Seattle is a gleaming 11-floor creation of steel and glass designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas that sports 362,987 square feet of space. This structure is truly a statement of digital age modernity; a long way evolutionarily from the McNaught Mansion that made room for it a century ago.

3rd Building_4th&Madison_2004



Bagley, Clarence B. 1916, History of Seattle: From the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. The SJ Clarke Publishing Co.: Chicago.

The Free Online Encyclopedia of WashingtonState History. Accessed April 26, 2014,

Hacket,Rigina, May 19, 2004 Seattle Public Library: Design is fun on a grand scale.  Accessed April 26, 2014,

Plat of an Addition to the City of Seattle, Recorded March 18, 1875, University of Washington Special Collections, Map Folios, Block No. 19.

Sandborn Map Co. 1884, Seattle Washington WT. Sandborn Map & Publishing Co.: New York.

Sandborn Map Co. 1893, Insurance Maps SeattleWashington 1904 Vol. 1. Sandborn Perris Map Co.: New York.

Sandborn Map Co. 1904, Insurance Maps SeattleWashington 1904 Vol. 1. Sandborn Map Co.: New York.

Seattle Public Library, Brief History of the Seattle Public Library. Accessed April 25, 2014,

Seattle Public Library, Special Collections Online, Accessed April 25, 2014,

Sherrard, J. R. Seattle Now and Then: The Palace Hip Theater. Accessed April 26, 2014,