A Brief History

The College Inn opened on June 1, 1909, located at the entrance to the internationally acclaimed Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition that opened in Seattle on that same day.  This exposition was organized in celebration of Seattle’s rapid rise in prosperity, a result of its gateway to the gold rush in the Yukon through Alaska. 

The exposition closed five months later but the College Inn lived on. The architects, contractors, and crew of workers who constructed The College Inn could never have envisioned how their entrepreneurial ingenuity and labor would later attain notoriety for being the only commercial structure built for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition that remains to this day.

In 1895 The University of Washington had moved from downtown Seattle to the current campus.  The site of the new campus became the favored location for the exposition.  Concurrently the developers of the new hotel looked beyond the initial thrust of the exposition as they determined the location and named the hotel, fully anticipating the advantages of being in such close proximity to the campus.

This multi-story European style Inn has undergone numerous interior renovations while steadfastly preserving and protecting the integrity of its uniquely distinctive Tudor Revival exterior – an upscale design brought to America in the early 1900’s by architects schooled in the UK.  


The College Inn occupies the top three floors complemented by the conveniences of small shops, eateries, and a pub at street level.

These are just a few nuggets panned from Essay 8782 entitled “The College Inn (University District, Seattle).”  The full account is readily found at www.HistoryLink.org as written and posted by Dotty DeCoster.

Although small in stature, the College Inn structure stands tall for having witnessed the local births of Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Alaska Airlines, Nordstrom, a World’s Fair/Space Needle, Starbucks, the Seahawks and Mariners, and an ever-expanding University where periodic cheers (and occasional jeers) emanate from nearby Husky Stadium.

Through the decades, The College Inn has continuously been accented by the distant sounds of air horns as parades of ships come and go at a very busy port of entry.


Add this historical understanding to your sense of appreciation as you experience staying at College Inn.