QAHS Photo of the Month: Alexander Hall

Posted on May 19th, 2013 by Laura Fonda

It’s time for a monthly trip back into our neighborhood’s history, courtesy of the Queen Anne Historical Society. This month’s photo features Alexander Hall, which you may recall from our post on its nomination for City of Seattle landmark status.

Alexander Hall, Seattle Pacific University

by Michael Herschensohn, President, Queen Anne Historical Society


Alexander Hall, 1910
Photo courtesy of QAHS

Queen Anne residents don’t often linger on the campus of Seattle Pacific University. If they did, they might discover Alexander Hall, one of the most charming brick buildings in Seattle.

Nominated for city landmark status just this past week, Alexander Hall may indeed be the oldest building in all of Queen Anne. It certainly is among the oldest surviving masonry load-bearing buildings in town.

Alexander Hall hunkers on the southwest corner of the elliptic drive known as Tiffany Loop on the west side of 3rd Avenue West.  Designed in 1891 by English-born carpenter/architect John Charles Parkinson (1861-1935) for the Free Methodist’s new Seattle Seminary, it was first called the Red Brick Building.

Alexander Hall, 2013
Photo courtesy of QAHS

In spite of radical alterations to its fenestration and entryways that show in the now photograph, the building’s four octagonal towers, projecting bay and round arch entrance make it an intriguing example of Richardsonian Romanesque Revival design.

Nils B. Peterson donated five acres of his kitchen garden for the seminary. Five of his children were among the first 12 students to attend classes when the building opened in April, 1893. Alexander Beers served as the school’s first principal while his wife Adelaide took charge of the academic side of things.

In 1940, the Red Brick Building was renamed in honor of the first principal, but Seattle Pacific College trustees, fearing malicious associations with his patronymic used only his first name.  In a very welcomed change of policy, Seattle Pacific University itself initiated the process to designate the building a city landmark.

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