Project documenting the rich history of Southeast Seattle now complete
Essays, reports, and posters available to the public
June 22, 2012 (SEATTLE, WA)—Seattle's Historic Preservation Program recently completed a three-year project to document the rich history of Southeast Seattle. Through a series of posters, essays, and reports prepared by community historians, the project focuses on the era since World War II and looks at the historical roots of the ethnic diversity for which Southeast Seattle is known today. The project combines traditional historic preservation methods, like survey and inventory of historic sites, with community-based research to identify the people, places, events, and policies that shared the post-World War II era in this part of the city.
The Historic Preservation Program of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods worked with community partners and historians to develop materials documenting the region defined as the area west of I-5 and south of I-90, including Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, Rainier Valley, Seward Park, Rainier Beach, and the many residential and business districts within those neighborhoods. There were several approaches used to document this area's history:
- Community historians from four organizations – El Centro de la Raza, the Northwest African American Museum, the Washington State Jewish Historical Society, and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience – developed a series of in-depth reports about the Latino, African American, Jewish and Asian Pacific American communities in Southeast Seattle.
- Historian Mikala Woodward, affiliated with the Rainier Valley Historical Society, prepared a series of in-depth essays and reference documents that look at Southeast Seattle history through many different lenses. Additional essays were written based on geographic and social themes, such as public housing and diversity.
- HistoryLink created a new suite of essays and timelines about Southeast Seattle and a new Seattle-Map app for android and i-phone devices.
- The most visible element of the project is a series of six posters for display in schools, libraries, community centers, and local businesses. All six posters include layers of historic and contemporary photographs and text in English as well as another language - Chinese, Somali, Spanish, or Vietnamese. The free posters are available by visiting the Southeast Neighborhood Service Center at 3815 S Othello St.
In addition, there is existing information documented by the Historic Preservation Program which can be found on its webpage, which includes several historic context statements or neighborhood history overviews and a series of historic site surveys.
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods' Historic Preservation Program is responsible for the designation and protection of more than 450 historic structures, sites, objects, and vessels, as well as seven historic districts located throughout the city.