Seattle's Wallingford Center, a retail adaptation of the old Interlake Public School, opens in 1983.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 3/24/2001
  • Essay 3131
In 1983, the Wallingford Center, a retail center with upstairs apartments, opens. Located in the business district of Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood at the corner of Wallingford Avenue N and N 45th Street, the Wallingford Center building is adapted from the Interlake Public School (1904) designed by architect James Stephen. As a work of architecture, the retail center retains many features of the elegant old school. It offers restaurants, a bookstore, and shops purveying clothing, furniture and kitchen equipage, gifts, eye-glasses, toys, crafts, photographs, and other merchandise.

The building features a pedimented main entrance with an Ionic columned portico and an entablature bearing the name of the school. In the adaptation, maple floors, fluted wood columns, and corridor archways have been preserved on the main floor. Alaskan marble salvaged from the restrooms was used to construct a new entrance stairway. Photographs of the old elementary school and its pupils grace the basement level.

Lorig Associates was the developer. They were granted a 99-year lease (by the Seattle School District) to preside over the property. The architectural firm Tonkin/Greissinger designed the apartments and two floors of retail space.

Outside, Ron Petty's 1984 bronze and aluminum pylon, Animal Storm, with squirrels, Canada geese, raccoons, bats, fish, dogs, and other animals climbing up it, celebrates the neighborhood's wildlife.

Sources: Lawrence Kreisman, Made To Last: Historic Preservation in Seattle and King County (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999), 161-162; Walt Crowley with Paul Dorpat (Photography Editor), National Trust Guide: Seattle (New York: John Wiley & Son, Inc., 1998), 190.

Related Topics:   Buildings | Business | Landmarks | Seattle Neighborhoods

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