The Royal Esquire Club sells its clubhouse to Seattle Public Schools on August 30, 1985.

  • By Mary T. Henry
  • Posted 8/23/2010
  • Essay 9525
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On August 30, 1985, The Royal Esquire Club, a private African American men's club, sells its clubhouse to Seattle Public Schools for 150,000. The sale is made to make way for the Bailey Gatzert Elementary School. The Royal Esquires will purchase a new clubhouse in Columbia City at 5016 Rainier Avenue S.

In 1952 the club had purchased a frame building at 1254 S Washington for its clubhouse. The Seattle Schools purchased the clubhouse, along with other property between 12th and 14th avenues and Yesler Way and Washington Street, in order to build the new Bailey Gatzert Elementary School. The transaction between the Royal Esquires and the Seattle Public Schools closed on August 30, 1985, with the purchase price of $150,000.  

The private African American men’s club was chartered by Washington State in 1948.  The founders envisioned a place for black men to socialize and contribute positively to the community in a collegial environment. There were no welcoming venues for them in 1948.  The men were Doyle Barner, Frederick Bowmar, William Childress, Freddie Ray and Joe West.

In 1985, after the sale to the Seattle Public Schools, the club purchased a pool/bingo hall in Columbia City at 5019 Rainier Avenue South. Here they continue to socialize, dance, and sip cocktails among friends.  Their contributions to the community have included thousands of dollars in scholarships to high school students for higher education, fundraisers for community projects and opening their doors to the public for educational and business workshops.


Anny Chung Brothers, Property Management Office, Seattle Public Schools;   Mary Henry interview with Marvin Vanderhost; Royal Esquire Club website accessed August 16, 2010 (

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