Originally settled in 1850 as a small, fertile farming community called Duwamish, the community of Georgetown provides insight to an interesting variation on the effects of early 20th-century social reform movements. Georgetown's saloon and brewery owners worried that the community's unincorporated status might allow the "war against saloonacy" to turn Georgetown into a "dry village." Prohibition was spreading through King County, and they pushed to create an independent municipality before it affected their community. Though some merchants who worried about potentially higher taxes opposed this movement, voters decided to incorporate Georgetown in 1904. The first city offices and fire department were located on Horton Street behind, appropriately enough, J. A. Ward's Exchange Saloon. In 1909, the growing community decided to build a new home for its government. A dark red brick two story building with white brick quoins and an unusual stone entablature, the Georgetown City Hall was the first building in Georgetown to have both hot and cold running water. The building housed the police department, the jail, the fire department, council chambers and city offices.
The community was outraged in November of 1910 when it was discovered that the city did not own the property on which City Hall stood, in fact, the fire department actually controlled the property. Many felt this was part of a shady scheme by Seattle to annex Georgetown, which did absorb the community later that year. The fire and police stations remained, and the community would later place a library on the vacant second floor. The Fire Department and library eventually moved on to larger quarters, but the police, now part of the Seattle Police Department, have operated out of the building since the beginning. Old Georgetown City Hall continues to be a reminder of the satellite communities that Seattle has absorbed over the years.
The Old Georgetown City Hall is located at 6202 13th Ave., in the southern half of Seattle. The building still serves as a police station and is open to the public.
Old Georgetown City Hall
Photograph by David Hansen
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