Guide to SMA Resources for Council District 7

map of District 7

Listed here is a small selection of records in the Seattle Municipal Archives relating to neighborhoods in District 7, including Downtown, Pike Place Market, Belltown, South Lake Union, east Magnolia, and Queen Anne. Many more historical resources are available; please contact an archivist for assistance.

The current District 7 Councilmember is Bob Kettle.

Early Records

Pike Place market postcard
Pike Place Market postcard, circa 1922
Item 56, Postcard Collection

While much of District 7 has been a part of the City of Seattle since the City was incorporated in 1869, portions of Magnolia and the downtown waterfront became part of Seattle when they were annexed during the 1890s. Learn more in our online Annexed Cities exhibit and explore our interactive annexation map.

The General Files collection contains City of Seattle records from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and document 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. For a selection of scanned documents on the Great Fire from the General Files, see the Digital Document Library.

Harbor Department Annual reports provide a picture of the activity on the waterfront. The early reports date from 1894 to 1922 and contain statistics on steam and sail departures and arrivals, foreign imports and exports, and inbound and outbound passengers. They also contain reports on waterfront activity with detailed information on type and quantity of imports and exports. Recommendations for the waterfront are also included, such as the need for a harbor patrol, the necessity of a seawall and the replacement of wood buoys with steel ones.

Parks and Recreation

Queen Anne Viewpoint drawing, 1973
Queen Anne Viewpoint drawing, 1973
Image 169143

Both large and small parks in District 7 are well documented in SMA's records. The Don Sherwood Parks History Collection contains records about West Queen Anne Playfield, Kinnear Park, Denny Park, and others. Included in the files about Denny Park is a register recording the names and locations of reburials completed in order to repurpose the land from its previous use as the city's first municipal cemetery.

The Park Department's Planning, Construction, and Maintenance Records includes files on Kerry Park, Interbay Playfield, Westlake Park, and many others. Also included are records on construction of the aquarium in the 1970s and 1980s, Freeway Park, and Myrtle Edwards Park in the 1970s. More records on Freeway Park can be found in Mayor Uhlman’s Subject Files.

Dating from the 1960 to 1970s, the Forward Thrust Photographs include images of District 7 parks that were planned, developed, or improved by funds from the Forward Thrust bond measure, including Central Waterfront Park, Freeway Park, Westlake Park, East Queen Anne Park, and much more. Many other images of parks in District 7 can be found in our Digital Collections.

Infrastructure and Public Works

Denny Hill Regrade, 1929
Denny Hill Regrade, 1929
Image 3582

Construction of the Alaskan Way Viaduct is covered in Engineering Department Unrecorded Subject Files, and original blueprints showing plans for the viaduct and Battery Street Tunnel are found in Engineering Department Maps and Drawings.

Following the Nisqually earthquake in 2001, concerns about the stability of the viaduct led to discussions on whether to repair or replace the structure. The Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement Project Special Committee Records date from 2010 and document the alternatives studied for replacing the viaduct and central waterfront seawall.  The Committee on Central Waterfront, Seawall, and Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program Records cover the years 2010-2015 and include agendas, reports, presentations, and other materials related to overseeing major construction projects on the central waterfront.

Subject Files and Transportation Subject Files from former councilmember George Benson's office include information on reestablishing the electric trolley system along the waterfront and developing the Waterfront Streetcar. Construction of the Lake Union Steam Plant in 1914 is documented in a City Light photo album, and also in City Light Plans and Drawings.

The Denny Hill Regrade leveled one of Seattle's steepest hills, connecting neighborhoods and facilitating traffic flow. Begun in 1898 and completed over thirty years later, the project drastically changed the landscape of downtown Seattle and created a new Denny Regrade neighborhood. Photograph albums compiled by the Engineering Department show the various stages of the Denny Hill Regrade between 1904-1929.

Condemnation records from the Engineering Department and the Law Department document the development and construction of Queen Anne Boulevard from 1907 to 1916. Numerous subsequent paving, sewer, water main, and other maintenance projects are documented in Engineering Local Improvement District Records. Information on projects on Mercer in South Lake Union is also available.

The rehabilitation of the Magnolia bridge during the 1960s and 1970s is documented in Engineering Department Miscellaneous Improvements Records and Engineering Department Negatives. Maps of District 7 include zoning maps from 1923, 1947, 1961, and 1973, as well as early plat maps, maps for planning street and building projects, park maps, and many others.

Neighborhood Development and Community Services

Traffic on Fifth Avenue, 1950s
Traffic on Fifth Avenue, 1950s
Image 205599

Downtown is the central business district of Seattle which bustles with commercial and cultural sites. The Historic Building Survey Photograph Collection shows iconic enterprises such as the Bon Marche, Frederick and Nelson, and Nordstrom department stores, amid other businesses, financial institutions, restaurants, hotels, pubs, parks and street scenes from mid-20th-century Seattle.

Pike Place Market records date from 1907 to 1990 and document the proposed redevelopment of the Market and the subsequent citizen-led effort to preserve the Market as a historic landmark. Records from the Pike Place Market Historical Commission and the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority document work relative to the preservation and use of Market buildings and businesses.

Pike Place Market Visual Images and Audiotapes includes over 6,300 cataloged images and audio recordings. These, along with video recordings from Friends of the Market Videotapes, are available in Digital Collections.  Additional images of the Market can be found in the City Light Slide Collection and the Historic Building Survey Photograph Collection, among others.

The Department of Community Development Downtown Projects Records contain material relating to a number of improvement projects in downtown Seattle, including the rejuvenation of the Denny Regrade area; projects on the site of the former Normandie Apartments, including Horizon House and Freeway Park, and more. Downtown Planning Projects Records document projects involving the central waterfront, historic theater preservation, housing, Denny Regrade area, and Pike Place Market.

Seattle Design Commission Project Files include proposals, maps, plans, photographs, clippings, reports, and other material relating to projects like Central Waterfront Park, the Seattle Aquarium, and the Pike Place Market rehabilitation and improvements.

The Queen Anne/Magnolia Neighborhood Service Center Records cover the years 1995-2007 and include materials documenting the activities of the service center staff and its interaction with residents of the upper and lower Queen Anne neighborhoods, Magnolia, Interbay, and the Discovery Park community. Among the neighborhood issues reflected in the records are land use, homelessness, parking, pedestrian safety, transportation planning, bridge and overpass concerns, and relations with the United Indians of All Tribes.

Records documenting the work of City staff and Seattle residents to develop a Queen Anne neighborhood plan during the 1990s are held in Neighborhood Planning Project Records. Published documents on Downtown, Queen Anne and Magnolia date from 1913 to the present and include reports and studies on neighborhood and transportation planning, housing programs, community profiles, and more.

Legislative History

Map of Smith Cove Sanitary Fill Area
Map of Smith Cove Sanitary Fill Area, 1946
Map 1162

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. The public hearings and committee meetings are a window into interaction between citizens and their local government. A few excerpts are included in the exhibit space Seattle Voices, such as this entry on Low Income Housing at Pike Place Market. 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 7 Councilmember Sally Bagshaw are in Record Group 4613-00.

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.