In 1902, the city purchased an undeveloped downtown block for $100,000. The new home for the library was bounded by Fourth and Fifth avenues and Madison and Spring streets.
Six U.S. architects with substantial experience in library design — as well as every architect in the state of Washington — were invited to submit designs. In August 1903, the city selected a classic Beaux-Arts design prepared by German-born and trained architect P.J. Weber of Chicago. Construction of the 55,000-square-foot library began in spring of 1905. [Thanks to the Seattle Public Library, www.spl.org]