Nakamura Federal Courthouse (center)
The Federal Works Agency and the Public Building Administration of the Treasury Department funded the construction of this federal courthouse, the first single-purpose federal courthouse on the west coast.
From the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods: “In 1936, the federal government purchased the site and proceeded with the design and construction of the courthouse. The Supervising Architect within the Federal Works branch of the Department of the Treasury was Louis A. Simon. The Consulting Architect, who probably undertook the major design effort, was Gilbert Stanley Underwood. Underwood also served as the Consulting Architect for the San Francisco Mint (1936-37) and numerous large-scale defense housing projects during and after WWII. 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, in addition to housing the Justice Department courtrooms and support services, provided office and courtroom space for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, and Alcohol Tax Unit that were agencies within the Treasury depart that worked in close cooperation with the justice Department. This is a well-preserved example of a unique downtown property type constructed during the depression era, as well as a highly noteworthy local example of stripped-classical modern architectural style.” 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.
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods General Services Administration Federal Writers' Project, The WPA Guide to Washington: The Evergreen State. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press (2013).
Project originally submitted by Gray Brechin on July 26, 2016.