Meet Seattle’s historic neighborhoods

Pioneer Square is home to Seattle's original downtown. | Photo by @yujmurai

Morning, Seattle 👋 Alina here. As some of you may know by now, I only moved to Seattle a few months ago, so there’s still quite a bit I’m learning about the city. 

Even so, I don’t know that I’ve lived in too many other places where historical districts and sites were talked about so frequently, whether it was the recent concern over the Guild 45th Theater or the many detailed posts at Vanishing Seattle. It’s fascinating to hear about and, for those of you who’ve been around awhile, a great way to rediscover the city. 

So, over the next few months, I’d like to take the time to explore Seattle’s eight historical districts together. I’ll give you some interesting nuggets of history and tell you what fun you can find there, but for now, let’s just meet the cast.

Ballard Avenue Landmark District

Pioneer Square Preservation District

Harvard-Belmont Landmark District

  • Became a designated preservation district in 1980
  • The neighborhood homes feature all sorts of architectural styles — Victorian, neoclassical, Northwest Regional, Tudor, etc. — due to the constant influx of newly transplanted residents
  • A reason to visit now: Sol Liquor Lounge
  • Fun fact: While Capitol Hill made strong use of the streetcar, Harvard-Belmont never became a “streetcar suburb” because the affluent residents were able to obtain the newly-invented automobile

Pike Place Market Historical District

  • Established in 1907, Pike Place Market is the longest-running public market in the country
  • It became a historical district in 1971
  • Reason to visit now: Maíz
  • Fun fact: The first version of the Market featured only eight vendors; three months later, the area was lined with over 120 farmers’ wagons.

Columbia City Landmark District

International District

Sand Point Naval Air Station Landmark District

  • Established as Seattle’s eighth landmark district in 2011
  • The 89-acre district includes two parts of the original Naval Air Station, which is linked to Boeing’s early growth
  • Reason to visit now: The Fin Project, a monument dedicated to world peace + ecological awareness 
  • Fun Fact: The Naval Air Station Seattle was the launching point for the first-ever around-the-world flight

Fort Lawton Landmark District

  • Declared a landmark district in 1988
  • In 1896, local citizens and governments donated 703 acres of land for Fort Lawton’s artillery battery’s installation
  • Reason to visit now: West Point Lighthouse
  • Fun fact: Fort Lawton originally expanded over much of Magnolia Bluff, which was incorrectly named by Lt. George Davidson who mistook madrona trees for magnolia trees.