Seattle.gov Home Page
Seattle.gov This Department
Seattle City Clerk's Home Page Seattle City Clerk's Home Page Seattle City Clerk's About Us Page Seattle City Clerk's Contact Us Page
Online Information Resources
Search Collections Exhibits and Education Seattle Facts About the Archives

Annexed Cities - Home
Introduction
Ballard
Columbia
South Park
West Seattle
Conclusion
Return to Online Exhibits Home

Annexed Cities

Introduction

Annexation poster
Annexation poster

Between 1905 and 1910, eight small towns were annexed to the City of Seattle, nearly doubling the physical area of the City.

Six of the towns - Ballard, Columbia, Ravenna, Southeast Seattle, South Park, and West Seattle - were annexed in 1907. At least two of these, Ravenna and Southeast Seattle, appear to have incorporated as towns specifically for the purpose of petitioning Seattle for annexation. Other towns, such as West Seattle, Ballard, South Park, and Columbia, had their own character and community before becoming part of the City of Seattle. Some of those towns became part of Seattle enthusiastically, and others reluctantly.

The most common method of annexation was a petition describing the area to be annexed, which had to be contiguous to the City. The petition had to contain valid signatures of at least 20% of the electors who had voted in the last general election in the area, and include a request that an election be held. If the Council approved the election, the county checked the validity of the signatures, and an election was held. After the vote, Seattle City Council could accept or reject the annexation, although no vote for annexation was ever refused.

While each town had its own reasons for petitioning for annexation, some common themes emerge. Many had difficulties in securing a safe and ample water supply for their populations, and other utilities like sewers and electricity also caused difficulties for the town councils. It was difficult to keep up with street improvements for their growing populations, and some towns found themselves with growing debt. The towns ended up deciding it was in their best interest to ask that their problems - and their resources - become part of the City of Seattle.

Next section -->