State Armory (Washington National Guard Building)
Built in 1938, this three-story concrete and masonry structure provided a training space for local units of the Washington State National Guard, many of which served overseas. The Armory also has served as a center for community activities in Pullman, hosting everything from music performances, comedy acts, athletic events, and yoga. Its austere, stripped-down, symmetrical facade includes an arched, recessed entryway in the manner of a Romanesque church.
Backstory and Context
The Armory building was constructed in the Art Deco/Art Moderne style as a Public Works Administration (PWA) project. The PWA was a large-scale public construction agency created as part of the New Deal of 1933. Like other New Deal programs, the PWA provided employment to encourage the recovery of the American economy in the 1930s. In addition to government buildings like post offices, the PWA financed the construction of dams, schools, airports, and hospitals.
When the Armory opened, it featured a drill floor, supply room, and arms vault with showers and a rifle range in the basement. A 161st infantry company trained at the facility.1