A Century of Educating Young Men

Building 802 Terry & Early Years of O’Dea

In 1920, Bishop Edward J. O’Dea communicated to the Superior General of the Irish Christian Brothers that there was an urgent need to establish a Cathedral High School for boys in Seattle due to overcrowding at other high schools and to encourage young men to consider the vocation of priesthood. The hope was to draw young men from the parishes of the city to a school operated by the Congregation of Christian Brothers. The Cathedral purchased land for $43,000 and the Christian Brothers who taught at the school moved to a residence at 1003 Marion Street. A noted Seattle architectural firm, The Beezer Brothers designed the original building at 802 Terry Ave in the striking and distinctive Gothic Revival Style. Although the 802 Terry building was not completed by the first day of school, September 4, 1923, O’Dea began the year with 166 students in grades seven through ten, and three portable buildings used as classroom space. On March 16, 1924, O’Dea High School’s main building, now completed, was blessed by Bishop O’Dea, the first Bishop of Seattle and O’Dea’s namesake.

Thus began O’Dea High School and the unique brotherhood that spans more than a century. Since its inception, more than 8,000 young men have graduated from O’Dea and are part of our proud legacy. In 2023 we were honored to have celebrated our Centennial through a variety of events to honor our past and look to our future. During the year we produced a video and magazine with information and stories about our history. We have included them on this page and hope you will take the time to enjoy them to learn more about O’Dea and those who are part of our community.