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Preservation

Welcome to the City of Seattle's Historic Preservation Program, located in the Department of Neighborhoods. This program is responsible for the designation and protection of more than 450 historic structures, sites, objects, and vessels, as well as eight historic districts throughout Seattle.

This site introduces the basics of historic preservation in Seattle, including the legal processes that govern individual landmarks and historic districts, incentives for property owners, meeting agendas and minutes, staff contacts, and links of historical interest. The site is explained in greater detail below, or you may click any tool on the left.

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Saving the Past for the Future

Seattle's commitment to historic preservation began with citizen efforts in the 1960s to block the demolition of several beloved buildings and proposed "Urban Renewal" plans that would have destroyed most of downtown's Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market. In 1970, the Seattle City Council secured Pioneer Square's survival with the City's first historic preservation district, and voters approved an initiative for the Pike Place Market historic district two years later. In 1973, the Seattle City Council adopted a Landmarks Preservation Ordinance to safeguard properties of historic and architectural significance around the city -- and more than 400 structures and sites have now been designated to ranging from the Ward House, our oldest standing residence, to the futuristic Space Needle.

This Website has been organized to guide residents, business and property owners, architects, planners, and other interested citizens through Seattle's processes for individual landmarks and the city's eight historic districts. We hope it serves as your gateway to participation in the exciting and important work of conserving Seattle's rich legacy of historical and architectural treasures for present and future generations.

About this Site

The Historic Preservation Program Website's main sections are listed on the left. Briefly, each offers the following information:

Individual Landmarks & the Designation Process

This section contains a complete, illustrated roster of designated landmarks, with links to corresponding ordinances. You may scroll through this roster alphabetically by property name or narrow your search by clicking a particular neighborhood sector on the locator map.

We also outline the legal process for nominating, designating, and protecting landmark structures and sites, and links to the governing ordinance. It includes instructions and printable forms for each stage of the landmark process, including owner applications for permission to modify landmark structures, and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Historic Districts

Since 1970, Seattle has established eight historic districts:

Within these districts, the appearance and historical integrity of structures and public spaces are regulated by a citizens board and/or the Landmarks Preservation Board in accordance with processes and criteria established by City ordinance. Some historic districts also overlap with other special review and approval processes.
This section provides a brief history, boundary map, ordinance link, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), guidelines, instructions and printable Certificate of Approval forms and guidelines for each district.

Agendas/Calendars

This section provides the agendas and schedules for the following boards and committees:

Incentives

This section describes the various federal, state, and local programs available to assist property owners in the maintenance and restoration of landmark structures.

Staff Contacts

This section lists all key Historic Preservation Program staff with their postal addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

Links

This section is a roster of links to other historic preservation programs, agencies, and resources available on the Internet.

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