Barney E. Grevstad

Grevstad, Barney E.

(1913 – 1982)

The son of builder Hans B. Grevstad, Seattle architect Barney Elmer Grevstad was born on March 19, 1913 and attended Lincoln High School in Seattle. His formal architectural education was from the University of Washington where he received a Bachelor’s degree in 1936. Upon graduation, Grevstad went to work for the architectural firm of Bebb & Gould as a draftsman (1938). He then gained further experience by working for the firms of Lytel & Shorrett (1938) and Loveless & Fey (1939) before becoming a designer for the Seattle Housing Authority (1939-1940). Then in 1940, Grevstad became an assistant architect with the Austin Co. (1940-1944) He left the firm at the end of WWII and joined the Navy, rising to the rank of First Lieutenant. He was stationed in the Pacific (1944-1946).

Upon his return to the States, in 1946 Grevstad formed a partnership with former Austin Co. employee Paul G. Carlson and Frederick R. Eley. Together the firm of Carlson, Eley & Grevstad made a significant impact on the built environment in Seattle and the surrounding communities.

Early projects by the firm include the Temple Theater in Tacoma (1948); the Princess Theater in Prosser (1948); the H.C. Harrison House (1948, built by Grevstad’s Dad); a parish hall in Everett (1950); the Everett Motor Movie Drive-in (1950); and a store building in Grand Coulee (1951).

With their business taking off, the firm built a new office for themselves in 1953. However, shortly thereafter it was demolished to make room for I-5 and they built a new, larger office on Minor Avenue in 1959 which they shared with the Armstrong Cork Company.

The firm’s work included a variety of building types including commercial, religious, multi-family, and educational projects. Later projects included Broadview Elementary School (1960); the Engineering Building – UW (1958); an addition to Ruth School (c.1966) in Burien; Fairmount Park Elementary School (1963); and additions to several other Seattle schools including Broadview View Elementary (1960), and Montlake Elementary (1968).

Other notable projects include the Columbia Electric Office (1959); Petridge Mobile Homes Sales & Service (1959); First Church of Christ Scientist (1960) in Bellevue; a $1 million dollar shopping complex near Northgate (1964); and Auburn House Elderly Housing (1966).

In 1969 the firm became a division of Pacific Architect & Engineers, Inc. (PAE), a multi-national firm with offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Bangkok, Manila, Saigon, Seoul, Athens, and Washington D.C. PAE had been formed in Los Angeles in 1955 and today operates as a division of Lockheed Martin, whom acquired the company in 2006.

Grevstad was an active member of several professional and community organizations. He served as president of the Broadway Kiwanis Club (1958) and was a member of the Norwegian Male Chorus (1948). He also was the president of the Norwegian Commercial Club (1970), president of the Board of Trustees of Group Homes of Washington (1971) and served on the board of the Norse Home of Seattle.

Grevstad retired in 1972 and the firm was dissolved. He passed away in Seattle on September 2, 1982.

– Michael C Houser

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