About The Building…
The Seattle Church of Christ (former Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist) is a rare and beautiful example of Italian Renaissance / Byzantine Revival designed by Harlan Thomas and built in 1926. This building is historically significant and treasured by the community for several reasons. Two of the most obvious are the architect himself and the rare nature of this building’s design style. Harlan Thomas played an important role in the design of many of Seattle’s historic buildings. Among them are: Sorrento Hotel (1908), Corner Market, Pike Place (1911-1912), Queen Anne Branch Public Library (1912-1914), Columbia City Branch Library (1914), Delta Kappa Epsilon, UW (1914), Seattle Chamber of Commerce Building (1923-1926), Harborview Hospital (1929-1931), Kappa Kappa Gamma, UW (1930) and Bagley Hall, UW (1935-1936). By all accounts this structure is an outstanding example of the work of Mr. Thomas, whose long-standing career included a stint as president of the local AIA chapter from 1924-1926, election as an AIA Fellow in 1928 and who was also department head of the University of Washington’s Department of Architecture from 1926-1940.
At 85 years of age this structure remains almost exactly as it was built. There have been very few changes or updates of any kind. The areas that have been modified, such as interior acoustic ceiling tiles and lighting in the class fellowship hall are not great detractions and could be easily restored. There is strong support both in the community and among the members of the Seattle Church to preserve this structure for future generations. This past August 28th was our four year anniversary of purchasing the church and officially removing the imminent threat of demolition.
Only five years ago the demolition permit for this building had been approved. The permits for four “skinny town-home” residences were in place. The community was outraged and desperately seeking a solution. The coordination of countless individuals and organizations including The Queen Anne Historical Society, Historic Seattle, The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Queen Anne Neighbors for Responsible Growth, many neighbors of 2555 8th Avenue West, descendants of Harlan Thomas and the members of the Seattle Church of Christ all rallied, strategized and sacrificed to remove this building from the “Ten Most Endangered Historic Buildings” list of 2007.
In less than three years of ownership the impact of our open-door policy has been building countless bridges with the community. We have hosted a long list of weddings, memorials, recitals, Scouting events, community meetings and birthday parties for a variety of groups, most of whom are not members of our congregation. Any rents agreed upon have gone into our restoration/preservation fund at HomeStreet Bank and often our meeting space has been donated at no charge. Our courtyard and garden area have become a local park and meeting place of sorts for our Queen Anne neighbors who feel free to spend time together on benches around our garden courtyard.