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Annexed Cities - Home
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Annexed Cities

West Seattle

Mayors:
George B. Nicoll 1902-1905
Emil de Neuf 1906
Lewis C. Erven 1907

First settled by the Denny Party at Alki Beach in 1851, West Seattle remained lightly populated for several decades afterwards. Industry began to develop along the Elliott Bay side of the waterfront by the late 1870s, and several distinct communities soon sprang up throughout the peninsula.

For most of its short history, the City of West Seattle occupied mostly what is now the Admiral District. The area had been developed in the 1880s and 1890s as a residential community by the West Seattle Land & Investment Company. They operated a ferry service to Seattle at a dock near what is now Seacrest Park and connected it with a cable car to its new neighborhood on top of the hill. The company ended cable car service in 1898, and citizens decided to act on this and the lack of other amenities like telephones and residential electricity by voting to incorporate into a city in 1902.

Streetcar petition
Streetcar petition

The town was successful in attracting a private telephone franchise, but had less luck in enticing a company to provide public transportation. The residents voted in 1904 to borrow $18,000 to build their own electric streetcar railway system, the first municipally-run network in the country. It was completed by the start of 1905, and ran one mile from the ferry dock up along California Avenue to the southern city limits.

Ballot
Ballot

Town politics centered around the issue of annexation. Many residents wanted to join with the City of Seattle and have access to the clean and plentiful Cedar River water supply, the municipal electricity plant, and superior public safety services, while others wanted to maintain local control. Additionally, both sides were interested in annexing the surrounding unincorporated communities of Youngstown, Spring Hill, and Alki Point. The pro-Seattle side needed to obtain a land corridor from which to get Seattle water and power, while the anti-Seattle faction wanted to extend the municipal streetcar line south and west of the then city limits. These communities rebuffed the town's effort to annex them in 1905 and 1906.

Real estate brochure
Real estate brochure

The city sold the streetcar line to the Seattle Electric Company in December 1906 for $30,000. The Seattle Electric Company then constructed a separate streetcar line from Youngstown, through Spring Hill and over to Fauntleroy two months later, and connected the California Avenue line with that in what is now the Junction. A flurry of real estate activity and home building followed, and on May 25, 1907, the three communities voted to join the City of West Seattle with the promise of further annexation to the City of Seattle. The city limits now comprised the entire West Seattle Peninsula covering 16.34 square miles from the Duwamish Head to the north, the Puget Sound to the west, Elliott Bay and the Duwamish River to the east, and South Park and what is now SW Roxbury Street to the south. On June 29, 1907, West Seattle residents voted overwhelmingly 325 for and 8 against to join the City of Seattle.


Stockade Hotel
Stockade Hotel
Men on Railroad Avenue
Men on Railroad Avenue
Olympic Athletic Club letter
Olympic Athletic Club letter
LID bond
LID bond
Luna Park carousel
Luna Park carousel
Luna Park natatorium
Luna Park natatorium

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