Summit Grade School (now Northwest School)

1415 Summit Avenue

Northwest School (previously Summit School), Seattle, August 29, 2007, Photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Northwest School Union Street entrance, Seattle, December 10, 2021, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Summit School, Seattle, ca. 1905, Courtesy MOHAI (1983.10.7457)
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From First Hill Park, walk one block east along University Street to Summit Avenue and turn left, heading north to E. Union Street. The former Summit Grade School building illustrates the progressive development of public schools during the first two decades of the twentieth century. James Stephen was the Seattle school architect whose implementation of a model plan allowed for rapid expansion of school buildings (an I-shaped plan could become an H-shaped plan) to accommodate dramatic enrollment increases. Architecturally distinctive but conforming to the model plan, the building exemplifies characteristics of economical and functional design, as well as the integrity of form and use of materials. Large expanses of windows allowed adequate light and ventilation. The 1905 school building was originally stucco and brick, but its upper facade has been sheathed in lap siding. Like John Hay and Latona schools, it is dominated by two octagonal turreted towers at either side of the main entrance that house ventilation stacks and spiral stairs. The building has been home to the private Northwest School since 1980. The original school building is a Seattle Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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