< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >
Naval Reserve Building (Armory)
HistoryLink.org Essay 10189
: Printer-Friendly Format
Before Euro-American settlement, this area was a trade landing for
tribal peoples. In the 1870s coal barges from Newcastle were docked here
and the coal was then transferred by rail to vessels at Elliott Bay.
In 1882, David Denny built a major sawmill, the Western Mill, at the
foot of Westlake and partially extending out over Lake Union. An asphalt
plant was later located nearby. Logs were floated from Lake Washington
via a larger sluiceway dug at Montlake in 1883. That same year, Seattle
annexed the area around the lake's southern shores.
J. S. Brace and Frank Hergert leased Western Mill in 1895, then
in 1899 purchased the mill outright. In 1909 the main mill burned.
Brace and Hergert rebuilt a much larger mill north of Valley Street,
driving 100-foot pilings into the lake and placing fill along the
lakeshore to support construction.
In 1887 the Seattle Steam Laundry opened nearby, and thereafter every
day was laundry day in South Lake Union. In time commercial laundries
became a mainstay of the South Lake Union and Cascade neighborhoods as
the Troy Laundry, Supply Laundry, Prim Laundry, Overall Laundry, and New
Richmond Laundry and many others all profited from the Sisyphean task
of keeping early Seattleites relatively clean.
The Art Deco-style Naval Reserve Center, designed by B. Marcus Priteca
and William R. Grant as an armory for the United State Navy, was built
on the site of the Western Mill. It was dedicated in June 1942. During
World War II this facility housed a training school. The building
featured a "wet-trainer" room (a watertight room that could be filled
with water so that sailors could practice evacuating a flooded ship's
compartment), a full-scale ship's bridge, a chart room, a radio room, a
combat information center, a rifle range, and a two-story gymnasium.
After the war ended it became the local headquarters for the United
States Naval Reserve, which deeded the building and its five-acre parcel
to the Seattle Parks Department in 2000.
In 2011 the Naval Reserve Building becomes the new home for MOHAI -- the Museum of History & Industry.
< Browse to Previous Essay
Browse to Next Essay >
Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that
encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both
HistoryLink.org 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.
Major Support for HistoryLink.org 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