Washington State Building, Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, ca. 1909
The Washington State Building was the state’s official ceremonial center at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. It later served as the University of Washington library and the Washington State Museum.
Special to The Seattle Times
AN ELABORATE celebration of a singular historical event, like our exalted centennial in 2009 for the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, quickly fades from public memory. What at the age of 100 becomes an object to venerate quickly becomes ho-hum at 101.
But we shouldn’t forget our first world’s fair. For instance, this Beaux Arts beauty was the official building for the host state. Throughout the exposition, the Washington State Building was a VIP magnet, distinguished by the number of its ceremonial uses.
As The Seattle Times reported: “Within the walls (of this) veritable palace at a cost of $75,000 and furnished lavishly, the citizen of the Evergreen State is host and not guest. Unlike the state buildings at other expositions, it is not surrounded by an air of formality, nor are there any exhibits on display.”
For provincial exhibits of Washington’s products there was another taxpayer-funded structure, the Forestry Building, shaped and ornamented like a classical temple — a “temple of timber.”
Following the exposition, the Washington State Building kept on giving. It served as the University of Washington’s library long after the fair closed in the fall of 1909. After 1927, it was home to the Washington State Museum.
The photograph of the state building used here was taken from an upper veranda of the Forestry Building. Since 1949, the Forestry Building’s footprint has been mostly covered by the Husky Union Building. Jean Sherrard recorded his “repeat” from an upper floor of the HUB.
Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at www.pauldorpat.com.