Suzzallo Library ~ University of Washington

Since I had absolutely nothing for ABC Wednesday, the letter Z, I decided to cheat a bit and use my Suzzallo Library Post for Z. Look! There are two z’s in Suzzallo! My daughter and I were here last Thursday.


This is Suzzallo Library on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle. Ground was broken for this library in 1923. The building is an example of the Collegiate Gothic style adopted by the University as part of the 1915 campus plan, developed by architects Carl F. Gould and Charles H. Bebb.


Three heroic figures of cast stone depicting “Mastery”, “Inspiration”, and “Thought” sculpted by Allan Clark stand over the portals of the main entrance.



We walked up the beautiful staircase to get to the second floor reading room.





One of the entrances to the reading room. This room has inspired comparisons with the great library reading rooms of the world. After being in it I can understand why.



Oak bookcases are topped with a hand-carved frieze representing native plants of Washington State, including salal, Douglas fir, scrub oak, grape, dogwood, mountain ash, rhododendron, pear, trillium, salmon berry, wild rose, apple, marigold, canteloupe, tulip and cherry.


The room measures 65 feet high, 52 feet wide, and 250 feet long.


At each end of the room, a paneled alcove features a hand-painted world globe hanging from the ceiling, which bears the names of different explorers.



Tall, traceried windows incorporate leaded glass which is intended to break the direct rays of light.


The room features a vaulted ceiling elaborately decorated with rich colored and gilded stenciling.


A 1927 article in The Pacific Builder and Engineer stated that “This room has been pronounced the most beautiful on the continent and is ranked among the most beautiful in the world. It is comparable only to the nave of a cathedral.”


Some more views of the outside of the building.

If you live in the Greater Puget Sound Area and have never visited Suzzallo or if you happen to travel to Seattle, I highly recommend you put it on your list of places to visit.

ht: Most of the information I’ve shared comes from a Library Guide that is free at the entrance to the Library.

If you’d like to see more ABC Wednesday, Z is for posts click on over to Mrs. Nesbitt’s.

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage on their site and have replaced my photos with black and grey boxes of ugliness. I’m slowly deleting those boxes from my blog and trying to update so many posts, very frustrating.

About Ellenhttp://I am a wife, mother, baba (grandmother) and a loyal friend. Jesus is my King and my hope is in my future with Him.

33 thoughts on “Suzzallo Library ~ University of Washington

  1. Wow! This is a majestic library building! I can say that this is one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever seen! I’m sincere! A perfect choice for this week!

    Best regards,

  2. That was so wonderful. Makes me a tiny bit wistful in wishing that I had chosen UW instead of KU. I’m not much for antiques just because they’re old—BUT old buildings are my weakness. That really is beautiful, thank you for sharing it. I really can’t explain to you how God has blessed me and encouraged me since finding your blog. So much beauty and grace shared. Thank you.

  3. Wow! Next time I am in Seattle I will definitely find my way to this beautiful Library. Just looking at the photos gave me a big thrill….how I would love to work there! I should have been a librarian! I wonder if they have any EG novels in their collection??

  4. Uh – that’s slick! So my “Zodiac” could have been named “Ragzzo” and I still would have been in.
    But those shots! Wow! They knew how to show off in the olden times. Great images of a magnificent structure! Hat’s off to you, Ragazza!
    Cheers, Klaus

  5. Every one of these photos is outstanding, but I particularly like the stairs with the detailed – can one really call this a “railing? – I think I’ll say stair wall.

  6. Wow!! That is magnificent! I’d love to read there.

    This building reminds me of the architecture in England. When I went, I thought I would find public libraries in buildings just like this. But they don’t have a really good library system like we do in the States and Canada. I was quite surprised. They don’t even have interlibrary loan service. We’re quite blessed and I guess we owe a lot of thanks to Andrew Carnegie.

  7. I agree that it looks like a cathedral! I didn’t need to go to England to wander around cathedrals, I could have just driven up the 5 to Seattle! I don’t think I ever went in to the library the summer we lived at UW in a frat dorm. Too bad.

  8. I feel like I stepped into a Harry Potter movie looking at these photos! I’ll need to take a trip over there before I move, maybe I’ll go tomorrow to study for my midterm 🙂 Looks like you and Katie have been doing a lot of fun things!

  9. What a fabulous building. I can imagine that it would inspire readers and seekers after knowledge.

    I love ceilings like that – and in old cathedrals. The skill and creativity that went into making them leaves me in awe.

  10. wow, I had no idea that building was so intricate inside, I have been there a million times, usually at night for performances, but never went inside that building. I have to go see this now. Thanks. BTW that open area, whatever it’s called, , I have watched the most beautiful phantom skating ( rollerblades) in the fog , like a dream after a performance I was at once. There were other people about, but the skater was beautiful. His image is burned forever in my brain.
    Nice to meet you so close by..
    Jerez, Yep, it took me 19 years to finally go inside! The open area is called red square.

  11. We walked past it while doing the Beat the Bridge rade–er, sell, we didn’t race but did do the 5 mile walk instead of the 2 mile option. This was May of last year. I remember noticing it particularly as I am a librarian.

  12. WOW – thank you and thank you for the tour. I just couldn’t get over how beautiful the architecture is!!! Simply amazing. If I ever go to Seattle, I will definitely take your advice and make a trip there. Meanwhile, thank you again for taking me to places I haven’t been… I really enjoyed this post!

  13. “Louis” hasn’t been to Seattle in quite a while and had forgotten about this beautiful building. He had seen it from the outside, but has never been inside. What a gem! We don’t build beautiful things like this anymore…

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