Seattle’s historic districts: Columbia City


Columbia City’s main strip just begs for a Saturday afternoon stroll. | Photo by SEAtoday staff

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Hey there, Seattle. Ready for the fifth round of our Seattle Historic District Walkthrough? We’re taking a Light Rail ride down to Columbia City.

If you’re not really sure what’s happening right now, Editor Alina is still pretty new to Seattle, so we’re getting her caught up with some local history in each of our city’s eight historical districts.

Let’s get to it.

Flashback ⏳

Columbia City was born, much like Seattle, as a mill town in the late 1800s and became incorporated as its own city in 1893. However, it became annexed by Seattle after just thirteen years in 1907 (it’s a lot of work to run your own town). The town remained a business hub for years because of the electric railway that led to downtown Seattle.

Eventually, the railway was removed to pave Rainier Avenue in 1937 and the local economy suffered (a Great Depression doesn’t help anything). It became designated as a Landmark District in 1978, which encouraged rehabilitation of historic buildings and pedestrian-oriented businesses.

Lay of the land now 🌳

The Columbia City Landmark District is a small area that straddles Rainier Ave. S. in South Seattle. Within the district, there are an estimated 6,317 residents of which the median age is 38 (just a few notches above Seattle’s median age of 35). There are 23 different languages spoken in the area, with Vietnamese + African languages making up the highest percentage.

Digs for sale 🏡

Nearby biz + things to do 📋

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