Fremont Branch, The Seattle Public Library, reopens after renovations on April 16, 2005.

  • By Paula Becker
  • Posted 5/26/2005
  • Essay 7316
On April 16, 2005, the Fremont Branch, The Seattle Public Library, reopens after a $749,267 renovation. It is the 14th project completed as part of Libraries For All, a $196.4 million bond issue passed by Seattle voters in 1998.

Daniel R. Huntington designed the Fremont Branch, located at 731 N 35th Street, in the Mission Revival style of architecture. It was built with funds donated by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and it opened in 1921.  The Fremont Branch was the last Carnegie-funded branch built by The Seattle Public Library.  The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was named a landmark building by the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board.  It was remodeled several times over the years.

Hoshide Williams Architects designed the 2005 renovation. New features included an upgraded electrical system, a new boiler, an accessible restroom for the building’s lower level, more seating, more computers, improved ventilation, and conversion of an 800-square-foot storage area into a community meeting room. New lower wooden shelves increase collection capacity while remaining true to the building’s historic character and allowing light to enter through windows on the building’s west and east sides.

The Seattle Public Library coordinated renovation efforts on the building’s lower level with the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department.  Ernst Park, which opened in 2004, was sited directly west of the Fremont Branch.  An integral feature of the park was a winding ramp that ended at the lower level entrance to the library.

Seattle artist Dennis Evans created two mixed media painted works for the Fremont Branch.  The art pieces, the first installations of a series planned for five of The Seattle Public Library’s Carnegie-funded branches (Fremont, Greenlake, University, Queen Anne, and West Seattle), were planned to reflect classic liberal arts themes.

The renovation project took 11 months, beginning in May 2004.  

Sources: “Readers’ Hopes Up And Down; Fremont Library Set To Reopen, While They Still Wait In Ballard,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 13, 2005; “Improvements To Fremont Library,” Ibid., July 19, 2004; Online Encyclopedia of Washington History, “Fremont Branch, The Seattle Public Library,” (by David Wilma), http://www, (accessed May 17, 2005); personal observation by the author, May 20, 2005.

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You