Naval Reserve Armory (MOHAI)

860 Terry Avenue N

Museum of History & Industry, Lake Union Park, July 27, 2015, Photo by Daniel Lawrence Lu (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Naval Reserve Armory dedication ceremony, Lake Union, Seattle, July 4, 1942, Courtesy MOHAI (2000.107.OS35.09.01)
Naval Reserve Armory and USS Waxbill (AMS-39), Seattle, U.S. Navy All Hands magazine, May 1950, p. 24
U.S. Naval & Marine Corp. Reserve, Lake Union, Seattle, May 1955, Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives (spl_wl_lakes_00049)
Naval Reserve billboard, Seattle, February 7, 1959, Courtesy Seattle Public Library (spl_wl_bil_00040)
U.S. Naval Reserve Training Center, 860 Terry Ave. N, South Lake Union, March 1967, Courtesy Seattle Public Library (spl_jl_03_127_01)
U.S. Naval Reserve Building, South Lake Union, Seattle, 1975, Coutesy Seattle Municipal Archives (179626)
Artist rendering of remodeled U.S. Naval Reserve for MOHAI, South Lake Union, Seattle, 2012
Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), Seattle, August 13, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch

860 Terry Avenue N

Initially planned and designed in 1937, the Naval Reserve Armory opened on July 4, 1942. The city of Seattle Landmarks nomination notes the building’s curious combination of Art Deco, which emphasized verticality and geometric motifs, and Moderne, which favored horizontal forms and simply shapes. At its peak use during World War II, the site contained 25 buildings, including messhalls, a Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service barracks, and a chapel, and could accommodate 800 trainees who would become range finders, welders, gyro-compass operators, and ammunition handlers.

Many of the site’s buildings were torn down after the war but the Armory continued to serve the Naval Reserve and Marine Corps Reserves. During the Vietnam War, 30 units, totaling 800 reservists used the facilities. With end of the war and overall reduction of the military presence in Seattle (closure of Fort Lawton and Sand Point Naval Air Station), public officials agitated for the Lake Union facility to become a public park space. In 1998, the Navy decommissioned the Armory and the city acquired the buildings and property. The Museum of History and Industry opened in 2012.

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