Washington Hall History

In 1908, the Danish brotherhood opened the doors of a spare yet proud brick faced building in Seattle’s Central District and named it Washington Hall. Their hope was to provide boarding facilities to newly arrived Danish immigrants yet they also declared the building a dance hall and performing arts venue for all and opened the doors of the Hall to the whole community.

Date Built: 1908
Original Architect/Builder: Victor Voorhees (architect)/Hans Pederson (builder); Andrew Willatsen (architect for 1918 alterations)
Original Owner: Danish Brotherhood in America, Seattle Lodge #29
Description: Early 20th century fraternal lodge and dance hall. Eclectic architectural style with Mission Revival elements.

Built in 1908, the Danish Brotherhood in America commissioned the construction of Washington Hall to house the needs of its growing fraternal organization. The building, designed by prolific Seattle architect Victor Voorhees, has served as a fraternal lodge, settlement house and center for social and cultural activities of Seattle’s Danish immigrant population and many other ethnic groups.

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Slideshow Credit: Created by Feliks Banel, an Emmy-nominated writer and producer for TV, radio and the web.

From the start, the stage at Washington Hall has been in constant demand, hosting Danish and Yiddish theatrical productions in the 1910s, Filipino Youth Club dances in the 1930s, and even boxing matches in the 1950s. In the 1970s, the Hall became the official home to On the Boards, a non-profit arts organization that would stage contemporary works for the next 20 years. Local theater companies, like Nu Black Arts West Theatre, continue to stage original works at the Hall. Washington Hall is a place to incubate and be reborn.