Greenwood Branch, The Seattle Public Library opens on January 24, 1954.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 10/13/2002
  • Essay 3981
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On January 24, 1954, the Greenwood Branch, The Seattle Public Library, opens. It is the first new branch built in Seattle in 33 years. Greenwood replaces the Greenwood-Phinney Branch, which had served the community from a rented storefront since 1928.

Since shortly after the Greenwood-Phinney Branch opened in 1928, the Greenwood-Phinney Commercial Club and other community groups lobbied the Seattle Public Library Board for a real library. Even though the rented storefront was expanded twice before World War II, the community kept pressing for a larger branch. In 1951, Seattle voters failed to approve bonds for new branches, but the Seattle City Council appropriated reserve funds for construction. Greenwood was the first branch built by the city in 33 years.

Architects Decker and Christenson designed a steel and reinforced concrete structure on a corner lot at 8016 Greenwood Avenue N. On January 21, 1954, Greenwood Branch opened and Mayor Allan Pomeroy (ca. 1907-1966) attended the opening ceremonies braving snow and ice to make the event. The building featured 9,752 square feet of space (quadruple the old building), seating for 73 in the reading room and for 100 in the auditorium.

Circulation jumped immediately and community groups took advantage of the new auditorium in the basement. The auditorium became a popular venue for weekly film programs and occasional music recitals.


"Greenwood-Phinney Library 1928--," folder, Seattle Public Library Archives; "Greenwood-Phinney Library -- History," folder, Ibid.; "Greenwood Library 1953-1974 -- Annual Reports," folder, Ibid.; "Library Opening 1954," folder, Greenwood Branch Library Archives; "Greenwood Branch," folder, Ibid.; "Greenwood Branch -- Misc.," folder, Ibid.; "Green Lake Library -- Annual Reports," folder, Ibid.; "Weather No Deterrent: Crowds Gather To Welcome New Library In Greenwood," North Seattle Star, January 21, 1954, newsclipping, Ibid.

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