Benjamin F. McAdoo Residence
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. He designed this residence as his family home in 1958.
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.
McAdoo wielded significant influence both as an architect and as an activist. 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.
The architectural design of McAdoo’s contemporary family home in Bothell stands as a prime example of Pacific Northwest Regionalism infused with Modernist elements. His design approach showcases his alignment with renowned modernist architects of the period between 1945 and 1970, including Paul Hayden Kirk, Fred Bassetti, John Morse, and Gene Zema.
Collaborating with William Ridenour and Beverly Mangin, McAdoo worked on color planning and interior design for his family home. Meanwhile Ed Watanabe took charge of the landscape design ensuring a cohesive and harmonious integration of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Throughout his illustrious career, McAdoo designed numerous significant residences and contributed to the development of commercial and industrial buildings as well as churches. 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.