William K. Nakamura Federal Courthouse – Seattle WA

Description

The Treasury Department funded the construction of the Seattle federal courthouse, which was the first single-purpose federal courthouse on the west coast.  The project was originated in 1936 by the department’s Procurement Division and completed in 1940, by which time responsibility for federal facilities had been transferred to the Federal Works Administration, where the old Procurement Division had morphed into the Public Buildings Administration.

The design of the courthouse is Moderne, a stripped-down and flattened version of Neoclassical, that was common for public buildings at the time.  The Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department was Louis Simon and Consulting Architect was Gilbert Stanley Underwood. We are not sure who carried through the general design to completion.

The new Federal Courthouse brought together the offices of several federal agencies. According to the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods: “Prior to the construction of the new courthouse, numerous Federal court agencies were housed at scattered locations throughout the city and downtown, particularly within crowded quarters at the former Post Office Building at Fourth Avenue and Madison Street. The new courthouse…provided office and courtroom space for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, and Alcohol Tax Unit [,] agencies within the Treasury department that worked in close cooperation with the Justice Department.

The courthouse was renamed in 2001 for PFC William Nakamura, a Japanese-American former internee killed in WWII, who posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2000.  It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places around that time.

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Location Info


1010 5th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104

Coordinates: 47.607233, -122.331361

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