Before We Were PNA
The buildings that make up the Phinney Center have been serving the community since 1904 when the wooden building opened as the John B. Allen Elementary School. Named for one of Washington’s first senators, this building housed 278 students by the end of its first year. In 1917, the brick building was added to the campus and enrollment increased, peaking at 758 in 1933. The school officially closed in 1981.
The Phinney Neighborhood Association was founded in 1980 with a federal block grant to serve residents living between 65th and 75th Streets, from Aurora Avenue to 3rd Avenue NW. As time went on, many community members brought ideas and energy to the PNA, forming the basis for new activities and an expanded geographic scope. The PNA now boasts over 2,500 members in neighborhoods all around Seattle.
In 1981, the Seattle School District agreed to lease the John B. Allen Elementary School property to the PNA. With the space for a community center came the creation many of the programs now associated with the PNA, including the Phinney Neighborhood Preschool Co-op, the PNA Tool Library, and many of our popular annual events such as the Winter Festival & Crafts Fair.
Growth & Change
Our child care services expanded greatly in 2006 when we took over the before and after-school care and preschool program at Whittier Elementary School in Ballard. Whittier Kids is now one of our largest programs.
In 2008 the Phinney Center site received City of Seattle Landmark designation and the Community Begins Here Capital Campaign was launched. PNA was able to purchase the campus from the Seattle School District the next year, thanks to the generosity of our community.
In 2016, we completed the Campaign for Accessibility, which made accessible improvements to the 1917 Brick Building, including adding an elevator, a ramped entry and ADA restrooms.
Today, the PNA is widely recognized by its iconic blue building, an integral part of the Phinney Center’s campus. New community members are introduced to the PNA through our summer-long farmers market. They soon become familiar with events like the summer and winter beer tastings, explore the offerings at our winter crafts festival, and uncover the hidden gem that is the tool library. Families engage in family-friendly programming such as our rainbow hop and hunger goblin events. Our community is vibrant, dynamic, and continually growing.
Our services cover a wide spectrum, including support for seniors, children, social services, affordable classroom rentals, DIY opportunities, events, ongoing classes and groups, and the recently added Business Improvement Area.
The PNA’s reach continues to expand as we remain committed to our mission of fostering an inclusive environment where everyone belongs. Join us on this exciting journey today!