Built With Energy and Spirit
The Jesuits purchased the building's site in 1890. Fr. Garrand arrived in Seattle in late summer 1891, accompanied by Fr. Adrian Sweere, SJ, (1840-1913) and established a temporary Jesuit boy's school in St. Francis Hall, near 6th Avenue and Spring Street. Garrand immediately began raising funds for a permanent school, but was hampered by the economic "Panic of 1893."
Assisted by architect John Parkinson, Garrand personally supervised design and construction of the new building. Construction labor was largely donated by Catholic parishioners. Garrand recorded that "the Irish wanted to prove to me that their devotion was superior to that of the Germans, and the Germans wanted to do better than the Irish." All worked "with an energy and spirit that surprised the whole town," he wrote.
Almost Lost, Now a Landmark
The building's upper floor housed a chapel for the new parish. Its lower levels contained classrooms and apartments for clergy and faculty. The school was renamed Seattle College in 1898, and the chapel was converted to educational use in 1905 after the parish center transferred to the new Church of the Immaculate Conception at 18th Avenue and E Marion Street.
The building was nearly lost in a fire on May 1, 1907, and its original hipped roof and belfry were not replaced until renovation of the Garrand Building in 1996. Seattle College used the building until 1919, when it temporarily relocated to the present campus of Seattle Prep on Capitol Hill. The College returned in 1930, and was reincorporated as Seattle University in 1948.