Seattle’s historic districts: Fort Lawton Landmark District

fort lawton

The Fort Lawton Landmark District includes old army building, such as these band barracks. | Photo by @kennethbrownpictures

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The district sits nestled in the north end of town next to Magnolia, a serene neighborhood perfectly tucked away from the buzz of downtown and Queen Anne. Its rich history includes lots of military activity — and Magnolia Bluff’s unfortunate namesake mistake.


Our story begins in 1857 when a surveyor named Lt. George Davidson came across the area and mistook the bluff’s madrona trees for magnolias (which may be acceptable if you only look at the leaf shape).

In 1896, US Secretary of War Daniel S. Lamont chose this spot to protect Seattle and south Puget Sound from naval attacks because of its strategic view into Elliott Bay and the sound. In 1900, the artillery base opened and soon transformed into an infantry training site. It would operate as such until 2011.

The lay of the land now 🌳

Landmark District itself only covers the former base. However, the old Officer Homes, nestled right in the middle of Discovery Park, went on the market only as recently as 2016. Another sold just this past year — and it’s gorgeous, of course.

As for Magnolia, the neighborhood is made up of approximately 9,883 households where 84.6% of the population has stayed in the same house as the year before. The median age of the Magnolia resident is 41 years old and 60.8% of households have families.

Digs for sale 🏡

Nearby biz + things to do 📋

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