Fred Hutchinson James Delmage Ross Dixy Lee Ray George W. Bush Hazel Wolf Henry M Jackson Warren G. Magnuson Home
Search Encyclopedia
Advanced Search
Featured Essay
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
7100 essays now available      
Donation system not supported by Safari     Donate Subscribe


Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search


Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Timeline Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

North East Branch, The Seattle Public Library, reopens after a $4.5 million expansion project on June 26, 2004. Essay 7321 : Printer-Friendly Format

On June 26, 2004, the North East Branch, The Seattle Public Library, reopens at 6801 35th Avenue NE after a $4,765,276 expansion project. This is the 10th branch opened as part of Libraries For All, a $196.4 million bond issue passed by Seattle voters in 1998.

The North East Branch circulated more books from its collection than any other Seattle Public Library branch.  Library service in the North East area began with the advent of the Ravenna-View Ridge deposit station in December 1945.  A post-World War II construction boom brought hundreds of new homes and families into the area served by this deposit station (Ravenna-Bryant, View Ridge, Laurelhurst, Wedgwood, Morningside, Hawthorne Hills, and Windermere). 

The original North East Branch replaced the deposit station and was designed by prominent Seattle architect Paul Thiry (1904-1993) in the Modernist style of architecture.  Paul Thiry was considered by many architectural historians to have been the father of Northwest Modernism.  The branch opened in 1954, winning many design awards.  In 2001 the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board designated the North East Branch a city landmark. 

But by the time the building closed for construction in April 2003, the light, spacious interior of Thiry’s original design had been rendered almost unrecognizable by the necessary addition over the years of many rows of shelves to house the branch’s heavily used collection.  The expansion project, designed by The Miller/Hull Partnership, revealed once more the bones of Thiry’s design and continued his theme.

Miller/Hull maintained the building’s roof peak, linking the original portion of the building with the new portion to enhance the connection between old and new.  The roofline of the new section is the inverse of the roof of the original building, complementing and enhancing the original architecture.  The collection capacity was expanded to accommodate 66,700 books and materials, while the welcoming openness of Paul Thiry’s original design was recaptured. 

The expanded facility had more seating, many more computer work stations, a large meeting room, upgraded functional technology, small instruction/meeting rooms, and a vastly improved lighting system.  The total square footage of the facility was expanded from 7,042 square feet to 15,000 square feet.  Recycled building materials were used whenever possible.  Seismic safety was also upgraded as part of the project.

The renovated North East Branch also contains a large, comfortable area designated for teenagers and an updated children’s area.  During its earlier days, the North East Branch was notably home to young library patrons Bill Gates (b. 1955) and Paul Allen (b. 1953), each of whom as adults donated in excess of $20 million to the Seattle Public Library.

More than 3,000 North East Branch patrons swarmed the reopened facility on opening day.

“Allen’s Library Gift A Real Page-Turner,” The Seattle Times, August 30, 2000; Jessica Blanchard, “New Chapter Begins At Local Library,” Ibid., June 27, 2004; Julie Davidow, “New Edition Of North East Library In 2004; Remodeling Of City’s Busiest Branch Starts Soon,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 19, 2003; “North East Branch of Library Reopens Today,” Ibid., June 26, 2004; HistoryLink.Org Online Encyclopedia of Washington History, “North East branch, The Seattle Public Library,” (by Alyssa Burrows),, accessed May 18, 2005; “About the North East Branch,” The Seattle Public Library website accessed May 16, 2005, (;  Shaping Seattle Architecture, A Historical Guide To The Architects ed. by Jeffrey Karl Ochsner (Seattle: University of Washington Press,1998), 246.

Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Special Suite: The Seattle Public Library |

Related Topics: Buildings | Education | Seattle Neighborhoods |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

This essay made possible by:
The Seattle Public Library Foundation

North East Branch, The Seattle Public Library, opening day, June 26, 2004
Courtesy The Seattle Public Library

Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM) is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email