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Seattle's City Halls - Home
Seattle's First City Hall
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The Third City Hall
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Seattle's City Halls

The County-City Building

County Courthouse
County Courthouse

The plaints "too small" and "inadequate" continued to be heard regarding civic space in Seattle. Options and ideas expressed by City officials, as well as citizens, were explored for easing the space burdens plaguing City offices.

In 1913, R. H. Ober, Superintendent of Buildings, reported on the costs of renting space and the feasibility of using the Prefontaine Building for a City Hall. Ober itemized $28,219 paid in rent to house departments that did not fit in the City Hall. He concluded, however, that the Prefontaine Building would not provide sufficient space for "permanent quarters for the city departments" and recommended against buying the building. He stated "the most advantageous arrangement seems to be the construction of a suitable building of a temporary nature but of a pleasing appearance upon the old city hall site, and sufficient in size to accommodate all of the outside city departments."

City Hall Park
City Hall Park

The County was proceeding with the construction of its new Courthouse which had been approved by voters in 1911 and for which funds were approved in 1912. In November 1914, a bond issue for $350,000 was approved to add two stories to the original building plan so that the City could lease space from the County.

As part of its agreement with the County, the City agreed to develop City Hall Park. Mayor Cotterill stated in his 1913 Annual Message that "the tentative, verbal understanding, which has been the basis of our cooperation with the County Commissioners in this matter is that the city shall become a tenant on at least a ten-year lease, of adequate quarters in the county-owned building….As part of the arrangement, it is understood that the City of Seattle shall dedicate its proposed City Hall block, which is of practically equal value with the county block, for permanent park purposes."

County-City Building
County-City Building

The new County-City building was dedicated on May 4, 1916. Five additional floors were added to the building in 1930 and a substantial remodelling took place in 1960.

The old Municipal Building, used by the City since 1909 (also known as the Yesler Building), was officially named the Public Safety Building in 1916, and thereafter, housed the departments for which it was originally intended: the Health Department, the City Hospital, the Police Department and City Jail.

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