The Auditorium, Administration and Fine Arts buildings, 1909
Most of the buildings erected for the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition held in Seattle were built as temporary structures and not expected to last much beyond the duration of the Fair. There were a few exceptions, however, and the postcards shared this week show two of them, the Auditorium and Fine Arts Palace buildings. Above is the rear of the Auditorium, sometimes mislabeled as the Music Pavilion, that was later named Meany Hall after Edmund Meany one of the people responsible for the Fair’s location on the University of Washington campus. It is the red brick building just in back of the smaller white administration building with the flags on the roof line that no longer exists.
The front view of the Auditorium is shown on the card below although the caption labels it as the Music Pavilion. This may just be a printing error but since the copyright note at the left margin gives 1908 as the date it is possible that when the card was printed the building was intended to be called the Music Pavilion and was changed to the Auditorium when the Exposition opened about a year later. During the 1909 Exposition the Auditorium was used as an athletic arena where competitions such as boxing were held. It had the largest capacity on the campus with 2,600 seats. Another building called the Music Pavilion used during the Fair in 1909 was entirely different, almost more like a bandstand and is pictured on the bottom card.
After the Fair was over the Auditorium, or Meany Hall as it was later named, was used for music and drama productions as well as student assemblies. Meany Hall was used as a performance hall until 1965. Today the original building is often referred to as “Old” Meany Hall. In 1958 that building underwent renovation and structural reinforcement but it was so severely damaged in the 1965 earthquake it had to be demolished. The University was without a large performance hall until a new Meany Hall was built in 1974.
How did Meany Hall get its name? In 1909 the University student paper, The Daily, started lobbying to have the Auditorium renamed in honor of Edmund Meany a University of Washington graduate and then history professor who had been the driving force behind the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. The Board of Regents resisted the suggestion since no other buildings on the campus were named for living people. However, The Daily continued the campaign and started referring to the building in print as Meany Hall. In 1914 the Board of Regents officially named the building after Meany who was still alive at that time.
Auditorium Hall during the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition and renamed Meany Hall
Looking at the first postcard at the top again, at the far lower right side is another red brick building that was the Fine Arts Palace. This building was designed by the architecture firm of John G. Howard and John D. Galloway as a chemistry building and in a reversal from many of the other Fair buildings was temporarily to be used during the Fair. The chemistry lab tables and other furnishing were moved in after the Fair ended and it was named Bagley Hall after Daniel Bagley a Methodist minister and early Seattle pioneer who helped establish a Washington Territorial University. Bagley Hall continued to be used until 1937 when a new chemistry building opened and was named Bagley Hall. The older building then became the home of Architecture and Physiology. It has been extensively restored and renovated and is still in use today as Architecture Hall.
Howard & Galloway worked together for about a year and a half between May 1906 and September 1908. They were responsible for designing the Auditorium, the Fine Arts Building, the Lake Union Wharf, the Machinery Pavilion and a general site plan for the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition buildings. They first started working together following the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco helping to rebuild that city and were well known enough on the west coast as a result that they were perhaps a natural choice for the 1909 Expo in Seattle.
The Music Pavilion shown above was used for band concerts and did not survive beyond the Fair, June through October 1909.
All three postcards were published by the Portland Postcard Company of Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. They are divided back cards with a message space and an address section. The postage required was one cent for mail in the United States and Canada, two cents for foreign mail. The topmost card is numbered X27 the third card at the bottom is numbered X50. The middle card is not numbered. All three cards have an official logo, however, the middle card uses the logo designed by Seattle artist, Adelaide Hanscom. The other two cards use the relief logo based on her design.
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