The Seattle literary arts organization Hugo House once made its home in a ramshackle two-story building with peeling paint outside and a yellow bucket to catch leaking rainwater inside. But with a growing number of visitors each year, the house could no longer comfortably support all the nonprofit’s programs. “We loved the old house, but we couldn’t fix it,” says Linda Breneman, who founded Hugo House with Andrea Lewis and Frances McCue in the late nineties. “It didn’t quite have the infrastructure we needed for more classrooms, a nicer space for literary events, better space for employees, and ADA accessibility.”
In August a shiny new $7.1 million Hugo House will open at the site of its original home. Located in one of Seattle’s first arts districts, on Eleventh Avenue across from a busy city park, Hugo House’s ten-thousand-square-foot space will appropriately serve more than ten thousand Seattle-area writers and readers annually. The larger building will allow the nonprofit to expand its offerings of classes, workshops, one-on-one consultations, readings, and book signings, providing a bigger, better hub for the Seattle writing community. “It’s a place for writers to gather,” says Tree Swenson, the nonprofit’s executive director.