In June 1891, the Oregon and Washington Conference of the Free Methodist Church approved the founding of a school in Seattle — originally named Seattle Seminary — where students would receive an outstanding Christian education and be prepared for lives of service to others. The new school’s first building opened its doors for classes on April 4, 1893.
Known only as the “Red Brick Building” in its early years, Alexander Hall was constructed on a rugged five-acre plot of land on the northern side of Queen Anne Hill. Designed in the Romanesque Revival style by prominent Seattle architect John Parkinson, the building had four narrow towers, a slate roof, gutters and finials of galvanized iron, a large central Romanesque entry archway, and an interior made of native woods. In October 1940, the building was officially named Alexander Hall, after SPU’s first president, Alexander Beers.
Nearly 125 years later, Alexander Hall presides over the beautiful, 42-acre urban campus of Seattle Pacific University. The stately brick building with its distinctive towers has become a symbol of SPU’s commitment both to its founding vision — which today we describe as “engaging the culture, changing the world” — and to its ongoing relevance in a changing world.
One Building, Many Roles
Alexander Hall is infused with meaning because of the many roles it has played in the life of Seattle Pacific University over the years: