About the WAC

History

A Cornerstone of Seattle Since 1930

The Washington Athletic Club opened its doors on December 16, 1930. Since then it’s been a home away from home for Seattle’s Who’s Who in business, political and social circles.

Not long after the Club opened, the Great Depression hit the West Coast and the WAC was threatened with closing its doors. Noting its importance, civic leaders and community members pulled together and kept the Club viable.

In the 1940s the WAC reciprocated the community’s support with a huge mobilization of members who worked on behalf of the World War II effort. By the time the war ended, WAC members had contributed nearly nine years of man-hours in supporting the troops.

In the 1950s the WAC expanded its Clubhouse with a four-story addition. Less than 20 years later the Club expanded once again, adding another eight stories onto the 1955 addition.

Most recently the Club underwent an extensive remodel that added state-of-the-art fitness facilities, a day spa and physical therapy services. The WAC’s Helene Madison Pool and Crystal Ballroom were also restored to their 1930s splendor.

Over the years the WAC’s membership roll has been proud to list Olympic athletes, politicians and community leaders. Helene Madison was the WAC’s first Olympic athlete, winning three gold medals in swimming in the 1932 games. Washington state Governor Albert Rosellini, newspaperman Royal Brougham, and founding member of Seafair and Northwest Hospital Roscoe “Torchy” Torrance are but a few other notable members.

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