When Queen Anne High School was built, America was conflicted over the purpose of high schools. Public education was seen as a possible cure for America's social ills. Some believed there should be an emphasis on liberal arts, while others wanted to use the system to assimilate a surging immigration population, and another push was for vocational training. The demand for a high school came from Seattle’s rapid population growth during the years following the Alaska Gold Rush.
Construction of the Queen Anne High School began in 1908, and classes began the following autumn. School Board President John Schram remarked that students would receive a "higher sense of self-respect if the building and its surroundings and equipment command their admiration." Therefore, the new high school was designed in a classic style reminiscent of English late-Renaissance palaces, complete with terra cotta ornamentation. The design of the school intentionally celebrated education by creating a grand and imposing environment. The new high school included laboratories and rooms for manual training and domestic science. "Surely there is no school in the United States that has such a breathtaking setting… The marvelous building on top of the hill became an architectural landmark visible throughout the city."

A School Board Report claimed this Neo-classical building, situated atop the crest of Queen Anne Hill, "marked the summit of achievement thus far in Seattle school architecture." Edgar Blair, a school board member and later the School District architect, noted "it is the most modern and costly building in Seattle.... providing spacious corridors, ample exits, abundant light and fresh air . . . and toilet facilities on every floor."
In 1928, with rising enrollment and overcrowding, construction was launched to expand the facility with 10 additional classrooms, a boys' gymnasium, a botany laboratory and greenhouse, and an auditorium. The addition carried on the structure and ornamentation of the original building. 
During World War II, the priority of a high school education changed:  "There was a whole group taking extra classes so we could graduate early and join the service," a graduate explained, and Queen Anne's enrollment dropped. After World War II, a second major addition was needed. The 1955 addition included an Industrial Arts Building connected to the 1929 addition by a breezeway. 
With only 850 students in 1980-81, the decision was made to close the school. In 1984, the Seattle School District, in cooperation with Historic Seattle Preservation and Development Authority, chose a local development company to lease the site and convert it for residential use while preserving its historic character. Classroom space was transformed into 139 apartments. During the adaptive reuse process, the building was designated a Seattle Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The 1929 auditorium-gymnasium was demolished to create a circular driveway and entrance.  Much of the interior of the building was altered but some features, such as the Galer Street entrance, the tall windows, and many of the blackboards survived.
In 2006, Legacy Partners converted the apartments to high-end condos. The masonry was restored, the terra-cotta was repaired, and the exterior was cleaned. During the condo conversion, Legacy Partners clad a 1980’s addition with light-gray brick.