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Guide to the Archives of the City of Seattle
Record Group 9100
Seattle annexed eight small municipalities between 1905 and 1910, nearly doubling the City's physical size. Annexations by law were initiated by the annexee and had to be approved by the Seattle City Council. The need for inexpensive and accessible electric power and water system services were the primary motivations for the annexation movements.
The Town of Ballard was incorporated in January 1890 and was governed by a five-member Board of Trustees appointed by a King County Superior Court Judge. Charles F. Treat was the first Chairman of the Board and was subsequently elected mayor in the Town's first municipal election in April 1890. Ballard achieved city of the third class status in December 1890.
Ballard entered into an agreement with the City of Seattle in 1902 whereby the latter supplied water from the Cedar River watershed. The agreement was extended in 1905. The water supply for Ballard was a central issue in the movement for annexation to Seattle. Annexation first became an issue at the time the first water supply agreement terminated. However, at a special election in December 1905, the citizens of Ballard defeated annexation by a 1033-549 vote.
At the regular municipal election in 1906, an "Annexation Ticket" appeared on the ballot and its nominee for mayor, H.E. Peck, was elected. The "Annexation Club" petitioned the City Council to call a special election and in April 1907 the population voted 998-876 in favor of annexation.
Besides the water supply issue, other concerns that led to the successful annexation movement were additional city services availability, taxation, local improvements, and the city debt. At the final meeting of the Ballard City Council on May 29, 1907, the City Treasurer reported the City's assets as $307, 568.91 and liabilities as $452,404.57.
Seattle City Council ordered City department heads to investigate the Ballard city departments and make recommendations to facilitate a smooth transition of responsibilities and activities. Reports from the Engineering, Water, Police, Health and Fire departments all suggested the maintenance of Ballard offices, equipment and staff with the former city to be referred to as the "Ballard District." Ballard became a separate ward of the City with one councilmember representing the newly-annexed area.
Proceedings of the Ballard City Council. Includes vote results by precinct of annual city elections.
Numerical listing of municipal laws passed by the Ballard City Council.
Administrative records of Ballard filed with the City Clerk. Materials include audits, bids and proposals, financial statements, city officials' reports, contracts and bonds, political party nomination records, franchises, oaths of office, petitions, resolutions, specifications, and correspondence. Of particular interest are records relating to the city water system contracted from Seattle, local improvements, service franchises, election materials, activities of the West Coast Improvement Company, and a city census for 1890. Arranged alphabetically by subject and/or record type.
Numerical register of warrants issued by the City of Ballard. Includes warrant number, date, to whom issued, amount, and reason for issue.
Financial demands and claims against the City of Ballard for services rendered. Includes name of claimant, date of demand, service rendered, number of warrant issued, amount, and date.
Official files on local street and sewer improvements. Includes assessment rolls, majority petitions, bids, bonds, contracts, work completed, estimates, City Council reports, assessment collection statements, and hearing determinations. Arranged alphabetically by street and numerically by district.
The 1890 establishment of the Seattle, Renton, and Southern Railway and aggressive promotion of real estate brought settlers to the mill town of Columbia. The town's thriving lumber industry helped supply Seattle with timber for reconstruction after the Great Fire of 1889, and many goods were also shipped to Columbia from Seattle via the railroad.
Columbia was incorporated in 1892 with a five-member Town Council which quickly established a Board of Health to employ a "reputable physician" charged with examining cases of contagious disease. A volunteer fire department was created in 1902 including a hose company and, soon thereafter, a chemical company. In 1903, Columbia reached a contractual agreement with the City of Seattle for the purchase of water. Also in that year, the Snoqualmie Falls Power Company received a franchise to install and operate an electrical power plant for the town.
Columbia achieved city of the third class status in 1905 when its population reached 1500, the required total established by State law. The Mayor called a special election in September of 1905 and the public voted in favor of the "advancement of the Town of Columbia to a city of the third class."
Annexation to the City of Seattle came in 1907 following a petition by citizens to the City Council to hold a special election on the matter. Although opposition to annexation had initially been strong, due to citizens' desire for local control, the March 5 vote was overwhelming, 109-3 in favor of annexation to Seattle. Consolidation occurred on May 3, 1907.
The Columbia City neighborhood, with much of its historical core intact, was designated a Seattle Landmark District in 1978.
Proceedings of Columbia City Council.
Ordinances passed by the City Council and arranged in two numerical series. Ordinances 1-185 cover the period 1893-1906. A second series, numbered 1-61, was begun when Columbia achieved city of the third class status in 1906. Volume Two also contains Resolutions passed by City Council.
Administrative records of the City of Columbia filed with the City Clerk. They cover the period from incorporation in 1893 to annexation in 1907with a few records relating to completion of local improvements in 1913. Materials include Council resolutions, committee reports, City Attorney opinions, contracts, correspondence, franchises, city officials' reports, local improvement district bonds, mayor's messages, oaths of office, petitions, ordinances, bonds, and bills and receipts. Arranged alphabetically by subject and record type.
Register of demands against the City of Columbia. Includes date of demand, name of claimant, amount, reason for demand, warrant number, and date issued.
Numerical register of warrants issued by City of Columbia for services. Includes warrant number, amount paid, date, to whom issued, and reason for payment.
Majority petitions, assessment rolls, collection receipts, affidavits of publication, contracts, bonds, cost estimates, and work completed reports relating to local street and sewer improvements. Arranged numerically by district.
The City of Georgetown was incorporated in January 1904 as a city of the third class. The City was divided into six wards with one person from each elected to City Council for a two-year term. One at-large councilperson was elected for a one-year term. The mayor was elected for a one-year term.
Other City officials included an attorney, clerk, treasurer, health officer, marshal, police judge, engineer, and superintendent of streets. The latter was appointed by the mayor and confirmed by Council and had the responsibility of overseeing the repairing, cleaning, grading, and extension of streets, gutters, sidewalks, and sewers. Street improvements were by far the primary focus of municipal activity.
The City contracted with the Georgetown Water Company for its municipal water supply. Electrical and street railway services were contracted for with the Snoqualmie Falls and White River Power Company (1904) and the Seattle Electric Company (1906).
The movement for annexation to the City of Seattle began in 1906 but did not gain significant support until 1909. Following presentation of a petition for an annexation vote, a special election was held on March 29, 1910. The annexation proposition passed with 389 votes in favor and 238 opposed. The City of Georgetown was officially consolidated with Seattle on April 4, 1910. It was the last of the small incorporated cities to be annexed to Seattle.
Georgetown was served by two Mayors: John Muller (1904-1909) and Auburn Slocum (1910).
Proceedings of the Georgetown City Council.
Ordinances passed by the Georgetown City Council.
Administrative records of Georgetown filed with the City Clerk. Includes bids and proposals, specifications, correspondence, city officials' reports, franchises, petitions, and oaths of office. The bulk of records relate to local improvements, extension of city services, and franchise administration.
Financial demands against the city of Georgetown for services rendered. Includes name of claimant, date of claim, amount, reasons for demand, warrant number, date warrant issued, and amount. Volume Two is titled Synoptic Journal and Cash Book.
The Town of South Park was incorporated December 9, 1902 and the Town Council held its first meeting on December 23. South Park was served by three mayors in its four-and-one-half years of existence. These mayors were S.J. Bevan (1902-1903), G.C. Lingenfelter (1903-1905), and A.G. Breidenstein (1906-1907). Bevan resigned for unknown reasons after serving less than ten months.
South Park was plagued by problems in securing adequate city services. Particularly vexing was the inability to obtain a decent water supply. Although the City of Georgetown owned mains that ran through South Park, it refused to supply water to the latter, occasioning a bitter court battle over legal rights to the water. In 1905-1906, the town contracted with an independent water company, but in April 1906 the water was found to be contaminated because South Park did not have a sewer system. The Town Council petitioned Seattle to run Cedar River mains to the edge of the Town.
In October of 1906, the electorate voted 131-59 for annexation to Seattle, but apparently no action was taken beyond the vote. On March 23, 1907, a second vote for annexation was 181-36 in favor and on May 3, 1907, South Park became part of the City of Seattle.
Proceedings of South Park City Council.
Ordinances passed by the South Park City Council.
Administrative records of South Park filed with the City Clerk. Materials include contracts, claims, bonds, correspondence, city officials' reports, oaths of office, petitions, and tax statements. Records relate to local improvements, franchise operations, elections, and licensing of saloons and sporting exhibitions.
The City of Southeast Seattle was incorporated on July 2, 1906 following the merger of the districts of Hillman City, York, and Southeast Seattle. It was apparently incorporated for the sole purpose of petitioning to be annexed to the City of Seattle.
At the second meeting of the City Council, a petition was filed carrying 128 signatures calling for a vote on annexation. On August 17, 1906, the electorate voted 221-8 to petition the Seattle City Council to annex Southeast Seattle as the City's 12th Ward. In October, the Seattle City Attorney advised the Southeast Seattle Council that it could not be annexed as a separate ward.
In the meantime, a citizen proposal to merge with the City of Columbia, which supplied fire protection services to Southeast Seattle, received no Council action. On December 5, 1906, the electorate voted 181-70 to annex Brighton and to advance to City of the Second Class status.
A second petition to the Seattle City council asked that Southeast Seattle be annexed as part of the second ward because of the "urgent necessity for water, light and adequate transportation facilities." The Southeast Seattle City Council opposed unconditional annexation, but the public supported immediate annexation under almost any terms. Annexation finally came on January 7, 1907.
Proceedings of the Southeast Seattle Town Council. Includes oaths of office, newspaper clippings regarding incorporation and movement toward annexation, and petitions and a resolution supporting annexation to the City of Seattle.
Ordinances passed by the Southeast Seattle Town Council.
Official census compiled by the City of Southeast Seattle to verify its population prior to annexation by Seattle. Included only the names of the 4,282 residents.
Incorporated in April 1902, the Town of West Seattle established a five-member Town Council, with annual elections held on the first Tuesday in December. West Seattle's population grew rapidly, and in June 1904, the town advanced to city of the third class status. In 1904, 1905, and 1907, West Seattle annexed large portions of the surrounding territory, including the districts of Spring Hill, Riverside, Alki Point, and Youngstown.
West Seattle granted franchises to independent, private companies for the extension of vital services to the city including electric lights and power, street railways, telephone services, and water supply. The need for improved public services led to the movement for annexation to the City of Seattle. In June 1907, the voters of West Seattle voted 325 in favor and 8 opposed for annexation. West Seattle was physically the largest of the cities and towns to be annexed by the City of Seattle, encompassing an area of 16.24 square miles.
Proceedings of the West Seattle City Council
Ordinances passed by the West Seattle City Council.
Administrative records of West Seattle filed with the City Clerk. Includes contracts, bonds, correspondence, city officials' reports, franchises, oaths of office, petitions, resolutions, and bids and proposals. Filed alphabetically by subject or record type.