Historic Seattle - Preserving Culture and Legacy
Oct 17, 2018
A Local Place Preservation Team, Beneficial State Banking Heroes
Historic Seattle believes in the power of shaping a city that values and protects its collective history.
Seattle’s Washington Hall was built in 1908 and has served as a hub for social and cultural activities for diverse communities ever since. The Hall has taken on many lives, as a dance hall, then an affordable rental facility, to becoming a popular performing arts venue. Despite its continuous use and place in Seattle’s Central District community, the hall was in disrepair and facing demolition in the early 2000s, a full 100 years since its construction.
That’s where Historic Seattle came in. Thanks to contributions and a short-term loan, Historic Seattle purchased the hall and had it listed in the National Register in 2010. In May 2016, after working with Beneficial State Bank to secure funding, Historic Seattle completed a $9.9 million restoration, reopening Washington Hall to the community, fully restored as a permanent home for community arts, heritage and cultural organizations.
Connection to the Past
Washington Hall is only one example of the work Historic Seattle executes every year. In 2017 alone, the organization served 225,000 people through its eight historic properties and held more than 35 educational and advocacy program events hosting 1,500 people—in addition to reopening Washington Hall.
“Without organizations like Historic Seattle, the fabric of this city will be lost,” says Kji Kelly, executive director of Historic Seattle. “The connection to the past, our direction for the future, would be completely erased if it weren’t for us trying to save buildings like Washington Hall.”
Direction for the Future
Historic Seattle is supported largely by contributions and fundraising campaigns, but when projects require a large injection of capital, the organization turns to a lending partner.
“We got involved with Beneficial State Bank when were putting together the funding to rehabilitate Washington Hall,” says Lee Murray, Director of Finance.
“It took a lot of time to find the right people that wanted to take the time to understand what we were trying to do, who shared our vision,” Kelly says.
And for a mission-driven group like Historic Seattle, finding a lending partner who was also committed to building healthy, interconnected communities was priceless.