The vacant Nuclear Reactor Building on the University of Washington campus.

The vacant Nuclear Reactor Building on the University of Washington campus.

By Knute Berger

If you thought landmarking a diner that was once a Denny’s is pushing the preservation envelope, how about putting a nuclear reactor building on the National Historic Register? Before you scoff, learn just a bit about a remarkable, little-known modern building in the heart of Seattle. Today, it’s called the More Hall Annex, but when it was built on the University of Washington campus in the early 1960s, it was called the Nuclear Reactor Building. Yes, that’s right: it housed a small, functioning nuclear reactor situated on a prime piece of campus real estate just off Stevens Way with a view toward Union Bay. Today, it’s facing demolition. Ask around, and most people are stunned to learn that there was ever a nuclear reactor on campus, just a short walk from places like the HUB and above the gym, stadium and Burke-Gilman Trail. 

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