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Beacon Hill Branch, The Seattle Public Library
The Beacon Hill Branch, The Seattle Public Library, is located on Seattle's Beacon Hill at 2821 Beacon Avenue S in a building financed by the 1998 "Libraries for All" bond issue. The branch opened in 1945 in a small storefront at 2708 Beacon Avenue S on a trial basis, with community-group members contributing time and money to make the branch possible. Beacon Hill became a full-fledged branch in 1947, and in 1962 moved into a converted retail store at 2519 15th Avenue S. Six years later a fire in the abutting building nearly destroyed the branch, but it was saved by heavy rain and occupied the storefront space for more than 40 years in all. The current building, designed by Carlson Architects, opened on July 10, 2004. It is three times the size of the previous one and includes special collections in Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Tagalog, reflecting some of the cultural diversity of the Beacon Hill neighborhood that it serves.
File 2867: Full Text >
Columbia Branch, The Seattle Public Library
The Columbia Branch, The Seattle Public Library, is located at 4721 Rainier Avenue S adjacent to Columbia Park at the north end of the Columbia City business district in southeast Seattle. The branch's landmark 1915 building is the smallest of the libraries built for Seattle with gifts from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). The branch itself dates to 1909, two years after Columbia City was annexed into Seattle, when a small branch was opened in Spartan surroundings in the old Columbia City town hall. Since the branch's inception in 1909, it has seen dramatic changes in a neighborhood that has always attracted immigrant groups from Italians to Asians to Pacific Islanders. Under the "Libraries for All" improvement program, a $196.4 million bond issue passed by Seattle voters in 1998, the building was expanded to double its size. It closed for a year for renovation, reopening in August 2004. The expanded and renovated library preserves the building's distinctive character as a landmark.
File 4057: Full Text >
Ethiopian and Eritrean Communities in Seattle
Ethiopians and Eritreans have lived in the Seattle area since the late 1960s, beginning with university students. From 1980 with the passage of the Refugee Act until about 2000, thousands of Ethiopians and Eritreans arrived in Seattle as immigrants and as refugees as a result of oppressive political regimes, drought, and war. In the early twenty-first century, Ethiopians and Eritreans have come to the United States through the Diversity Immigration Visa program, which grants permanent resident cards to potential immigrants based on a lottery system. Both Ethiopian and Eritrean communities have thrived in Seattle, but also face similar challenges. These include preparing the aging first generation of immigrants for retirement and keeping children in school and helping them to become good citizens through after-school programming at their respective community centers. Community centers provide a social space and many programs including those designed to help preserve culture and heritage. The Ethiopian Community Mutual Association welcomes all Ethiopians. (Ethiopians are ethnically diverse and speak different languages.) The Eritrean Association in Greater Seattle serves the Eritrean community.
File 9615: Full Text >
Filipino Americans in Seattle
With an estimated population of 30,000 (in the late 1990s), the Filipino American community forms the largest group of Asian Americans in the Seattle area. Beginning with the first known Filipino resident in 1883, waves of Filipino immigrants arrived in dynamic relationship with the status of the Philippines (from colony to independence). They often faced discrimination and hardship, as described by the Filipino poet and writer Carlos Bulosan (1911?-1956). Filipinos have contributed to the area's arts, business, and political leadership. In 1979, Delores Sibonga (b. 1931) became the first member of the Seattle City Council of Filipino ancestry. President Bill Clinton appointed Bob Santos (b. 1934) as regional representative of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1992, Velma Veloria won election to the Washington State Legislature from Seattle's 11th District, making her the highest ranking elected official of Filipino ancestry in the country at the time.
File 409: Full Text >
Jefferson Park Municipal Golf Course (Seattle)
The Jefferson Park Golf Course opened in May 1915. It was the first municipally owned golf course in Seattle and the third golf course in King County. The course is located at 4101 Beacon Avenue S in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood. In its first year, 26,309 people played on Jefferson Park's 18-hole course. Today, the course measures 6,182 yards and has a driving range and 27 holes. More than 60,000 rounds of golf are played here each year. Since opening, the golf course has served Seattle residents and visitors of all ethnicities and income levels from the heavyweight-boxing champion Joe Louis in 1936 to a 16-year-old Tiger Woods in 1992, from the first members of the Seattle Chinese Golf Club in the 1950s to African American members of the Fir State Gulf Club to students of the nonprofit organization First Tee today.
File 3015: Full Text >
Kline Galland Center
The Caroline Kline Galland Home, located in the Seward Park neighborhood of southeast Seattle, is a skilled nursing home for Jewish seniors. For more than 90 years Seattle's Jewish community has rallied with fundraising and capital campaigns to support the home in its service to the Jewish aged. Initially funded by a bequest from Caroline Rosenberg Kline Galland (1841-1907), the home opened in 1914 with seven residents. There was already a waiting list, but zoning ordinances precluded expansion until the home's legal advisors won an appeal to the United States Supreme Court. A new building was built in 1930 and later expanded. That building was replaced with a new facility that opened in 1967, and both the facility and Kline Galland programs have expanded dramatically since then. In 2011, the Caroline Kline Galland Home has the capacity to serve 205 residents.
File 88: Full Text >
Kubota Garden (Seattle)
Kubota Garden, located in southeast Seattle at 9817 55th Avenue S and operated by the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, combines native Northwest plants with traditional Japanese garden designs that feature hills, valleys, streams, ponds, waterfalls, and rock outcroppings. It is open year-round and admission is free. The garden was the life work of Fujitaro Kubota (1879-1973), who immigrated to Washington from Japan. Although not formally trained, Kubota became a professional gardener, founding the Kubota Gardening Company in 1923. Four years later he bought five acres of logged-off swamp on Renton Avenue S near Rainier Beach (using a friend's name to get around laws that then precluded Japanese citizens from owning property in Washington), and began developing the garden. Kubota moved his family to the property in 1940, and acquired more lots to increase its size to 20 acres. The family was confined at Minidoka, Idaho, in the Japanese internment during World War II, but returned in 1945 to restore and continue developing the garden. In 1962 Kubota build the garden's 65-foot-high Mountainside, featuring ponds and waterfalls; he later added a moon viewing platform and moon bridge. In 1981, eight years after Kubota's death, the garden was declared a city landmark. In 1987 the City bought the property and Kubota Garden became a public park.
File 3077: Full Text >
Lakeridge Park and Taylor Creek (Seattle)
Lakeridge Park occupies more than 35 acres of Taylor Creek and Deadhorse Canyon in southeast Seattle. The park is located south of the intersection of 68th Avenue S and Rainier Avenue S just inside Seattle's city limits. Taylor Creek is the fourth largest creek in Seattle. The creek was named for Taylor Mill, a nineteenth century sawmill on the shore of Lake Washington. The canyon through which the creek flows to the lake got its name after a horse that frequented the area died in the ravine. Developer E. S. Goodwin platted the Lakeridge neighborhood in the 1920s and the City of Seattle established Lakeridge Park in Deadhorse Canyon in the 1940s. In recent years, the park, canyon, and creek have been the site of an urban creek restoration program aimed at attracting salmon back to the creek to spawn.
File 3120: Full Text >
NewHolly Branch, The Seattle Public Library, and its Neighborhood
The NewHolly Branch, The Seattle Public Library, is located at 7058 32nd Avenue S on Seattle's Beacon Hill. Completed in 1999, the NewHolly Library replaced the Holly Park Library, which was originally built in 1943 to serve the World War II housing development of Holly Park. After the war, the Seattle Housing Authority converted the development to subsidized low-income housing. Holly Park became one of Seattle's most diverse areas and also one of the lowest in median income. In the late 1990s, in an effort to change the neighborhood from low-income to mixed-income, the entire Holly Park housing development was bulldozed and rebuilt as NewHolly, a blend of single-family homes, townhomes, and apartments, with both public housing and market rate houses and apartments. By then, despite a previous move and subsequent expansion, the aging and crowded Holly Park Branch needed replacement and it became the first branch rebuilt under Seattle's "Libraries for All" program, funded by a $196.4 million bond issue that voters approved in 1998. The NewHolly Branch, designed by ARC architects, is part of a Campus of Learning that includes youth tutoring, Seattle Community College classes, child care services, and job placement and training.
File 2865: Full Text >
O'Brien, John L. (1911-2007)
John L. O'Brien was a state representative from southeast Seattle whose 26 terms in the House spanned the terms of nine governors. His service was highlighted by four two-year terms wielding a powerful and effective gavel as speaker in the partisan political roiling of the early 1960s. Appointed in 1939, he remained in the House -- but for a 1947-1949 hiatus -- until 1993. A master parliamentarian and durable politician, he served in every leadership capacity: Speaker, Speaker pro-tempore, minority and majority leader, and on every major House committee. Rainier Valley born and raised, O'Brien was a civic leader who energetically chaired local events and sponsored legislation to meet the needs of a district that changed from the Irish and Italian community of his birth to a more diverse one of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, African American, Orthodox Jewish, Vietnamese, East Africans. and Latinos. In his honor the House office building in Olympia is named the John L. O'Brien Building.
File 9675: Full Text >
Pritchard Island, a small island on the southwest shore of Lake Washington, was the site of a Duwamish Indian village known as tleelh-chus ("little island") for generations before the first United States settlers arrived in the area in the 1860s. It gained the name Pritchard Island when Alfred J. Pritchard acquired it in 1900 and platted a housing development that was reached by a footbridge over the slough that separated the island from the mainland shore of the lake. The area was annexed into the City of Seattle in 1907. Ten years later, the lowering of Lake Washington due to the opening of the Lake Washington Ship Canal drained the slough, connecting the island to the mainland. Even before the lake was lowered, Pritchard, the Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm, and many area residents had urged the City to develop a park and beach at Pritchard Island. In the 1930s, the City acquired the land in the former slough area and developed Pritchard Island Beach with assistance from the WPA.
File 3119: Full Text >
Rainier Beach Branch, The Seattle Public Library
The Rainier Beach Branch, The Seattle Public Library, is Seattle's southeastern-most branch library. Located at 9125 Rainier Avenue S, the branch traces its roots to a storefront operation that opened in 1928 and closed four years later due to the Great Depression. The neighborhood then went 34 years without a library until a branch opened on 57th Avenue S in 1966. The Rainier Beach branch moved into larger quarters, an old Sea-First Bank building on Rainier Avenue, in 1974. In 1981 the branch got a brand new building that was the largest branch in the system when it was built. Because of its size and relative newness, the Rainier Beach Branch was to be the last remodeled as part of the 1998 "Libraries for All" bond issue. But delays in other projects placed it near the head of the line in 2002, and the remodeled branch reopened in January 2004.
File 4038: Full Text >
Rainier District Pow Wow (1934-1992)
Seattle's Rainier District Pow Wow was founded in 1934 as a day-long, community-wide picnic designed to lift spirits and promote cohesion in the midst of the Great Depression. Like its cousin, downtown Seattle’s Potlatch, the event involved elements of commercialism, civic pride, family fun, and misinterpretations of Indian culture. Potlatch ended in 1941, when the United States entered World War II, but the Pow Wow continued until 1992, a mirror reflecting the changing face of the community and the world around it. Born during hard times, the festival drummed up business for local retailers in the 1930s; prompted military themes and patriotism in the 1940s; added a “largest family” contest during the Baby Boom of the 1950s; and included a “Battle of the Bands" in the 1960s. The bathing beauty contests were dropped in response to complaints from feminists in the 1970s. The Pow Wow queen and princesses were gone by the end of the 1980s. By the time the last Pow Wow was held, in July 1992, a kids lipsync contest was on the program, along with "The Electric Slide," presented by the "Senior Center Sliders." From one metamorphosis to the next, Pow Wow remained a highlight of the summer for generations of South Seattle residents.
File 9526: Full Text >
Rainier Valley -- Thumbnail History
Seattle's Rainier Valley is both a neighborhood and a geographical feature. The valley, which is not a watercourse but the low land between two ridges, extends some seven miles southeast from downtown Seattle to Lake Washington. As a neighborhood, "Rainier Valley" most frequently refers to the northern and central portions of the valley, but the name is sometimes used for the entire length of the valley including neighborhoods such as Columbia City and Rainier Beach. Coast Salish residents had a long-established trail through the valley and several permanent large cedar longhouses on the lake shore. The first non-Indian settlers arrived in the 1850s but settlement was slow until the valley's great stands of timber were cut and milled in local sawmills. The Rainier Avenue Electric Railway, built along the present-day route of Rainier Avenue S, opened the valley to suburban and eventually urban development. The rail line reached Columbia City in 1891 and Renton in 1896 and was a critical link until it went out of business in 1937. Rainier Valley has long been home to many immigrants, with Italian Americans and Japanese Americans predominating prior to World War II (which saw the internment of Japanese American citizens). Boom times during and after the war brought many more residents. African Americans moved from other states and from Seattle's Central Area. More recently, new waves of immigrants from Latin America and southeast Asia have made Rainier Valley home.
File 3092: Full Text >
Rizal Park (Seattle)
Dr. Jose Rizal Park is perched on the northwest crest of Seattle's Beacon Hill, where it enjoys sweeping views of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound, the Olympics, and the Cascades. The park is located on a portion of property on the north slope of Beacon Hill that the City of Seattle acquired in 1917 to build retaining walls, terracing, and drains where the regrading of Dearborn and Jackson streets left the hillside unstable. The park site itself remained undeveloped until 1971, when the Parks Department built a parking area and viewpoint along 12th Avenue S. The park was named for Dr. Rizal, at the request of the Filipino Alumni Association, in 1974 and formally dedicated in 1979. The name honors the Filipino intellectual and nationalist who was executed by Spanish authorities in 1896 because of his advocacy for Phillipine independence from Spain, and also recognizes the Filipinos who migrated to Seattle beginning around 1900, after the U.S. took possession of the Phillipines.
File 3168: Full Text >
Royal Esquire Club, The (Seattle)
The Royal Esquire Club is a private African American men's club in Seattle. It was founded in 1947 by five young men since there was no welcoming venue in the city where black men could socialize. Rooms were available for civic and social clubs to meet. The Fir State Golf Club and the LaClique Club were two groups that met there on a regular basis. During the civil rights era, some leaders in the movement could be seen there plotting strategies. There were fish fries, chitlin struts, and Creole gumbo fundraising dinners. Over some 60 years the club has sought ways to contribute positively to the community in a collegial environment. Today the Royal Esquire Club is located at 5016 Rainier Avenue S in Columbia City.
File 9522: Full Text >
Samoan Community (Seattle)
The first wave of Samoan immigrants arrived in Seattle after World War II. Many new arrivals had worked on the naval base in Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, which closed with the end of the war. Later immigrants joined established family members for better educational and occupational opportunities. The early immigrants to the region set up churches, often along family lines, which provided support and maintained cultural traditions for the growing community. Samoan activists and leaders created programs and community centers both to honor and preserve Samoan culture and to fight ongoing issues of unemployment, poverty, crime, and high dropout rates among Samoan youth, in part due to lack of English-language training for Samoan speakers. The Seattle Samoan Center and the Samoan Educational Task Force were both founded in the 1970s, and the first Parent Teacher Student Association chapter for Samoans and Pacific Islanders was formed in 2000. The community prizes its athletes and comes out in force to support the Samoan Cricket League. In 1993 the first "Aso Mo Samoa" or Samoan Community Day celebrated Samoan culture with folk dances, singing, island food, traditional costumes and ceremonies, and a cricket tournament. This resilient and passionate community survived neglect from the municipal government and internal disunity to emerge as a vibrant ethnic community in southeast Seattle and West Seattle. By the year 2000 some 8,000 Samoan Americans lived in Washington state, with 80 percent residing in King and Pierce counties.
File 9646: Full Text >
Seattle Neighborhoods: Beacon Hill -- Thumbnail History
Beacon Hill overlooks downtown Seattle from the southeast and is distinguished by the 16-story Pacific Medical Center that rises from its northern end. The ridge extends southeast from First Hill between the Duwamish River and the Rainier Valley and rises to 350 feet in elevation. As close as Beacon Hill appears to downtown Seattle, geography has worked to keep the neighborhood distinct. The ridge saw scattered settlement as early as the 1850s, but remained largely undeveloped for several more decades. Union Army veteran and real estate developer M. Harwood Young (1846-1913) named the hill in 1889 for Boston's historic Beacon Hill and built a streetcar line connecting the neighborhood to downtown. Regrades along Jackson and Dearborn streets cut through the ridge to provide access from downtown to the Rainier Valley, requiring a bridge to Beacon Hill on 12th Avenue S. Reservoirs for the city's Cedar River water system were built atop the ridge (where a small reservoir had earlier held Lake Washington water), and adjacent land became Jefferson Park Golf Course. The U.S. Marine Hospital (later Pacific Medical Center) was built in the 1930s. After World War II, a large veterans hospital was built south of Jefferson Park at the hill's highest point. Interstate 5 was cut into the west slope of Beacon Hill in the 1960s.
File 3004: Full Text >
Seattle Neighborhoods: Brighton Beach -- Thumbnail History
Brighton Beach is a neighborhood on Lake Washington in southeast Seattle. It is just south of the Bailey Peninsula (home to Seward Park) and extends from the lake over Graham Hill, across the Rainier Valley, and up the side of Beacon Hill, generally between S Othello Street on the south and S Orcas Street on the north. English immigrants who purchased lots there in the 1880s named the neighborhood for a resort town in England. Before that the area had been home to Duwamish Indians who had a village called hah-HAO-hlch ("forbidden place") just south of Bailey Peninsula, and then to settlers who logged the huge trees, built farms, orchards, and a schoolhouse, and platted house lots. The 1891 completion of an electric trolley line down the Rainier Valley as far as Columbia City opened Brighton Beach to more development. The neighborhood and adjoining ones was annexed into Seattle in 1907. The City developed Brighton Playfield during the 1930s and Sharples Junior High School was later sited next to the playfield. In the years following World War II many African American families moved from the Central Area south down the Rainier Valley. Brighton Beach and Seward Park also became a center for Seattle's Jewish community, with three synagogues and some 90 percent of the city's Orthodox Jewish population.
File 3110: Full Text >
Seattle Neighborhoods: Columbia City -- Thumbnail History
Columbia City, a historic neighborhood in southeast Seattle, began as a townsite developed by promoter J. K. Edmiston, who built an electric rail line from downtown Seattle through the Rainier Valley along the route now followed by Rainier Avenue. Columbia City incorporated as an independent town in 1893 and was annexed into Seattle in 1907. Manufacturers such as the Hitt Fireworks Company and Heater Glove Company sustained the local economy until World War II, when the neighborhood became home to defense workers and Hitt Fireworks switched to military production. Columbia City saw declines in the post-war years, reaching a nadir in the late 1970s when crime was a major concern and many storefronts were empty. In subsequent decades, a combination of public and private efforts helped revitalize the area. The local business community won Landmark District status for Columbia City in 1978, helping to preserve the neighborhood's historic ambience. Once-empty storefronts have become restaurants, offices, an art gallery, and other businesses.
File 3327: Full Text >
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