Seattle women formed their first suffrage association after hearing Susan B. Anthony speak at Brown Church in 1871. During their struggle for the vote, they were subjected to the usual criticisms of being inappropriate, unnatural, and threats to the establishment.

Washington women won the franchise in 1883, but the victory was only temporary. In 1887, the Territorial Supreme Court ruled that suffrage for women was unconstitutional. The struggle to regain the vote continued, with many prominent citizens joining in on the campaign. Finally, in 1910, Washington women won back the right to vote.

In Seattle, women’s groups quickly went into action to exercise their new civil power. They organized a recall campaign against Mayor Hiram Gill. Gill had broken his pre-election promise to confine the pimping of women to Skid Road, and granted sanction to his cronies to build the world’s largest brothel–250 rooms–on a regular city street. Seattle’s newly enfranchised voters made sure Mayor Gills was defeated in 1912, and the intended brothel, which never opened, was turned into a rooming house.

(source: Seattle Women: A Legacy of Community Development, by Mildred Andrews)