Guide to SMA Resources for Council District 6

map of District 6

Listed here is a small selection of records in the Seattle Municipal Archives relating to neighborhoods in District 6, including Ballard, Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, and west Magnolia. Many more historical resources are available; please contact an archivist for assistance.

The current District 6 Councilmember is Dan Strauss.

Early Records

Ballard liquor license, 1906
Ballard liquor license, 1906
Box 4, Folder 27, 9106-03

Records of the City of Ballard before it was annexed to the City of Seattle in 1907 are held at SMA, and the illustrated story of Ballard's annexation is told in an online exhibit. Explore other additions to the city through our interactive annexation map.

The General Files collection contains City of Seattle records from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, documenting the activities of City officials and Seattle residents during a time of enormous growth and change. Topics include the aftermath of the Great Fire, the development of the water supply and sewer systems, grading and street improvements, housing, public health, and many other issues. General Files related to District 6 neighborhoods may be found in Digital Collections.

Parks and Recreation

Waiting for the Interurban, 2015
Waiting for the Interurban, 2015
Image 177840

Parks and public works projects are well documented with Engineering and Parks records - for example, Olmsted drawings and correspondence about Green Lake. The Don Sherwood Parks History Collection includes records about the Ballard Pool, Golden Gardens, Green Lake, and more. Parks Construction and Maintenance Records include details on Fremont Ship Canal Park, Bergen Place, Fremont Peak Park, and others.

The Archives holds many records from the Woodland Park Zoo, including annual reports, films, photographs, docent manuals, master plan records, publications, and records relating to animal management and special events. A film from the zoo features the Pony Club picnic from about 1935.

An online exhibit delves into the history and development of Discovery Park. The Fort Lawton History Collection contains records about the history and establishment of the Fort Lawton military installation, including a written reminiscence by a former German POW who was incarcerated at Fort Lawton during World War II. The Discovery Park Advisory Council Records document the planning, implementation, and management of park projects from 1983 to 2003. Files covering the acquisition and development of Discovery Park's Fort Lawton and the establishment of the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center can be found in the Planning, Construction, and Maintenance Records. More records on the creation of Daybreak Star can be found in Mayor Wes Uhlman's Subject Files, and digitized photos, maps, and textual documents are highlighted in an online exhibit.

Touching districts 3, 4, 6, and 7, the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop connects people to open space and new and existing lakefront parks, and creates safe access for lake visitors. In Fremont, the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop travels south over the Fremont Bridge and east toward Gasworks Park.

About 3,000 photographs from 1914 to the present are available online depicting city activities in Ballard, Green Lake, and Fremont, including parks and playgrounds, the Ballard Locks, streetcars, Aurora Avenue, buildings, and much more.

Infrastructure and Public Works

Ballard sewer map, 1903
Ballard sewer map, 1903
Map 1588

SMA's online exhibit on the Lake Washington Ship Canal includes information on how Ballard and Salmon Bay were shaped by the construction of the canal. Bridges in the path of the canal's construction had to be dismantled and rebuilt in order to accommodate the passage of large vessels. These included a crossing at 3rd Avenue West between North Queen Anne and Ballard, as well as the Stone Way Bridge, which spanned Lake Union and joined the north side of the lake to Westlake Avenue.

Two new bascule bridges were built to allow ships into Lake Union; the Ballard Bridge opened in 1916 and the Fremont Bridge in 1917. Engineering Department footage of the reconstruction and reopening of the Ballard Bridge in 1939 is available to view and download in Digital Collections. Engineering Department Maps and Drawings include drawings of the bridges, and records documenting the bridges' construction, including specifications and estimates, can be found in the Engineering Department's Bridge Records.

Traffic Engineering Records reflect major street and bridge construction projects from 1930 to 1952, including Aurora Avenue and the Aurora Bridge. Maps of the district include zoning maps for 1923, 1947, 1961, and 1973, as well as bicycling maps, park maps, waterfront maps, and others.

Neighborhood Development and Community Services

Green Lake beach, 1936
Green Lake beach, 1936
Image 10562

District 6 neighborhoods were deeply impacted by the creation of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The development of Ballard, Fremont, Interbay, and Magnolia was spurred by transportation and trade activities made possible by the Lake Washington Ship Canal project. More information and photographs can be found in our online exhibit Life on the Cut.

Records from the Fremont Neighborhood Service Center and the Greenwood Neighborhood Service Center document issues and concerns for those communities from the 1950s to the 2000s. The Fremont Neighborhood Improvement Project Records contain information about efforts towards community betterment in the 1970s, especially relating to landscaping and tree placement.

The Department of Community Development Neighborhood Planning Records date from the 1970s to 1980s and document issues like business development, traffic, and land use relating to a number of Seattle neighborhoods, including Greenwood. Mid-century photos of commercial buildings and homes in Ballard are included in the Historic Building Survey Photograph Collection.  

SMA's Published Documents Collection includes neighborhood plans for Green Lake, Greenwood and Phinney Ridge, Ballard, and many more. Records for the Ballard Avenue Landmark District include subject files, digital photographs, and minutes of the board.

The Neighborhood Matching Fund provides funding for community-driven neighborhood development projects. The Project Records and the Small and Simple Project Records document many neighborhood improvements planned and carried out by citizen volunteers.

Legislative History

Municipal Street Railway formal opening on Ballard Bridge, 1918
Street railway opening on Ballard Bridge, 1918
Image 12506

City Council committee records and records from elected officials held by SMA are useful in researching intent behind proposed and passed city legislation. In addition, beginning in the late 1950s, SMA holds audio recordings of council and committee meetings, and some public hearings. Many, though not all, of these audio recordings are cataloged in Digital Collections. If you don't find a meeting you're looking for, please ask an archivist for assistance.

Find more information and tips for searching the background to legislation in our Guide to Researching Legislative History.

Archived records from the office of former District 6 Councilmember Mike O'Brien are in Record Group 4665-00.

Please see the Neighborhood Map used by the Office of the City Clerk that defines how all neighborhoods are indexed in records in the Seattle Municipal Archives.

Municipal Archives, City Clerk

Anne Frantilla, City Archivist
Address: 600 Fourth Avenue, Third Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94728, Seattle, WA, 98124-4728
Phone: (206) 684-8353

The Office of the City Clerk maintains the City's official records, provides support for the City Council, and manages the City's historical records through the Seattle Municipal Archives. The Clerk's Office provides information services to the public and to City staff.