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Queen Anne High School

Queen Anne High School, located at 201 Galer Street, at the top of Seattle's Queen Anne Hill, was the banner for a major change in Seattle's education system. “Enlightened” minds around the turn of the century viewed education as a cure-all for America's social ills. They argued that better schooling required safe, scientifically designed buildings. Seattle's Board of Education was influenced by these ideals and hired James Stephen as the "Official School Architect," in 1899. Stephen developed a "Model School Plan" that was widely copied in Washington State, and the 1909 Queen Anne High School became the benchmark. A School Board Report claimed this scientifically designed classical-based building proclaimed the pinnacle of Seattle school architecture. The approval of this school design was varied as shown in the statement by Edgar Blair, a school board member, "It is the most modern and costly building in Seattle, Providing spacious corridors, ample exits, abundant light and fresh air, and toilet facilities on every floor." In 1929, with rising enrollment and overcrowding the district decided to build an addition to Queen Anne High School. The character of the 1929 addition illustrates the shifting away from glorifying classical architectural ages toward a celebration of the modern industrial age, with more plain schools, more modest in scale and cheaper. Queen Anne High was again enlarged, in 1955. In the 1980s, the school district closed the school and sold the building to developers. Its purchasers converted the Old Queen Anne High School into 139 high-quality apartments that opened in 1987. It was a project that used the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program to receive $1.6 million in tax credits. Today Queen Anne High School is an excellent example of the adaptive use of historic buildings. With spectacular views, and with 48 different floor plans, one's view may be of the Cascades, Puget Sound, Elliot Bay, or the Space Needle; several of the studios offer stunning views of Mt. Baker. Many elements of the structure, such as marble slabs recycled as counter tops, were re-used in the apartments, adding old world charm that otherwise could not have been duplicated at today's prices.