Benjamin F. McAdoo Office
This building is historically significant in African American history due to its association with Benjamin F. McAdoo, the first Black Architect registered in Washington state. The site served as both his residence and office for a few years.
McAdoo was a notable social and political activist who advocated against the detrimental effects of property redlining, segregation, and opportunity-based discrimination. He held a prominent position within his community and actively championed the rights of marginalized groups throughout the state. He served as the president of the Seattle Chapter of the NAACP for over four years and hosted a radio show that focused on shedding light on pressing social issues particularly discrimination. To address the underrepresentation of the Black population in Seattle’s construction industry, he co-founded the Central Contractors Association, which supported Black architects, builders and craftsmen. In addition, McAdoo ventured into politics and ran for State Representative in the mid-1950s.
McAdoo's involvement with the US Agency for International Development was instrumental in his design of low-cost housing modules for Jamaica, which could be constructed by unskilled workers. His esteemed reputation and network in Seattle enabled him to undertake public projects in countries like Ghana. McAdoo returned to Seattle in the 1960s and began working for the Auburn Office of Public Building Services. He utilized 1718E Olive Way as his personal office space while residing in the apartment above the office building. However, the McAdoo family eventually relocated to Bellevue's Hilltop Neighborhood.
Throughout his illustrious career, McAdoo designed numerous significant residences and contributed to the development of commercial and industrial buildings as well as churches. Churches played an important role in providing him with the peace and support to excel in his career. Not all Churches were open to the Black community, but only a few started for the increasing African American population at the time.
Notable examples of his work include the Southcenter Branch of the King County Central Blood Bank, the Anne Swimming Pool, the University of Washington Ethnic Cultural Center, and Seattle Fire Station No. 29, among others.