Guide to SMA Resources for Council District 2

map of District 2

Listed here is a small selection of records in the Seattle Municipal Archives relating to neighborhoods in District 2, including Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Chinatown-International District, Columbia City, Mount Baker, Yesler Terrace, and Rainier Beach. Many more historical resources are available; please contact an archivist for assistance.

The current District 2 Councilmember is Tammy J. Morales.

Early Records

Rainier Beach [Bird's Eye view from south], 1895
Rainier Beach [bird's eye view from south], 1895
Map 1941

SMA holds records for Columbia City and Southeast Seattle prior to their respective annexations to the City of Seattle. Read about pre-annexation Columbia City, originally incorporated in 1892 as the Town of Columbia, in SMA's 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, 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 2 neighborhoods may be found in Digital Collections.

Parks and Recreation

Jefferson Park lawn bowling, 1980s
Jefferson Park lawn bowling, 1980s
Image 204472

The history, development, and maintenance of parks in District 2 are well documented in Parks Department records - for example, Olmsted drawings and correspondence about Seward Park. The Don Sherwood Parks History Collection includes records on Mount Baker Park and Boulevard, Beacon Hill Playground, Hing Hay Park, Rainier Beach Playfield, and many more.

Parks Construction and Maintenance Records include details on the Rainier Beach Recreation Center, Othello Playground, International District Children's Park, Dunlap Heights Playground, Rizal Park, Kobe Terrace Park, and many others. The Department of Parks and Recreation Open Space Acquisition Records document property acquisition for open space parks in Seattle, including the Cheasty Greenbelt.

Beacon Hill is home to the first municipal golf course in Seattle, Jefferson Park. Built using city prisoner labor and opening in 1922, the park included a short 9-hole course, a lawn bowling field, driving range, putting greens, shop, and clubhouse. The Department of Parks and Recreation Golf Records include materials relating to the management and operations of programs and courses at Jefferson Park, and drawings for Jefferson Park Golf course are held in Municipal Golf Course Plans and Drawings.

SMA's Published Documents Collection contains Environmental Impact Statements for Kubota Gardens. Digital Collections includes photos of the Beacon Hill Median Trail, which provided safe bikeways for cyclists. Some are digitized and viewable online, while the others can be viewed in our research room. 

Infrastructure and Public Works

12th Avenue South Bridge [Dearborn], 1917
12th Avenue South Bridge [Dearborn], 1917
Image 1452

Records from departments like Engineering, the Board of Public Works, and Seattle City Light document the growth and maintenance of city infrastructure. Planning and construction of City roads, from small streets and alleys to major thoroughfares like Beacon Avenue and Rainier Avenue South, are documented in the Engineering Department's Miscellaneous Improvement Records.

Engineering Local Improvement District records span the years 1894-1985 and include bids, specifications, and correspondence documenting projects such as street and sidewalk paving, sanitary and storm sewer repairs and installation, and other work that benefits property within a defined improvement district. Records document the grading and paving of streets, including Rainier Avenue, Genesee, and Mt. Baker Boulevard. Many of the projects carried out by City departments are documented with photographs and are available in Digital Collections, including work on various bridges in Beacon Hill and paving projects in Rainier Valley.

You'll find Environmental Impact Statements documenting the Central Link light rail transit project and the redevelopment of Holly Park, along with many other projects, in the Published Documents collection. Maps of District 2 are also available in the Digital Collections, including zoning maps from 1923, 1947, 1961 and 1973, as well as planning maps and more.

Neighborhood Development and Community Services

Hing Hay Park, 1975
Hing Hay Park, 1975
Image 29299

Two photograph collections containing images of the International District from the 1970’s have been digitized and cataloged in recent years and can be viewed in Digital Collections. These rich collections display the cultural significance of the area and show hotels, restaurants, community associations and parks. Surveys of buildings have also been digitized and include architectural details, addresses, and building or business names.

The Historic Building Survey Photograph Collection and the Neighborhood Architecture Photographs and Surveys are teeming with images of schools, businesses, churches and synagogues, parks, and homes from the mid-century through the 1980s. See Columbia City, Yesler Terrace, and more District 2 neighborhoods in Digital Collections.

Seattle's participation in the national Model Cities program during the 1970s helped to fund many new community initiatives throughout the city, including those that took place in District 2 neighborhoods. Model City records, especially the Southeast Branch Model Neighborhood Office Records, include materials related to the establishment of El Centro de la Raza as well as other social services and recreational facilities in District 2. The South Seattle Redevelopment Project is part of an online exhibit about urban renewal in Seattle. Neighborhood Matching Fund Project Records include support for workshops and other projects at El Centro de la Raza.

Information about Sick's Stadium can be found in Baseball Litigation Records and Task Force Records, as well as in mayoral records. Central Neighborhood Service Center Records and the Central Area Neighborhood District Coordinator Records document issues and concerns for those communities. Columbia City Landmark District Records contain materials relating to the creation and management of the district and its efforts to preserve Columbia City's built environment during the 1970s and 1980s. The International Special Review District records include minutes and subject files relating to the preservation of the Chinatown-International District.

The Published Documents collection includes neighborhood plans from the 1990s. International Special Review District records include board minutes and subject files, many covering METRO transit projects such as bus shelters and stations. Plans for the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace during 2012-2013 are covered in Yesler Terrace Committee Records.

Neighborhood News, produced by the Seattle Channel for the Department of Neighborhoods, focused on different neighborhoods around the city. This episode on the Southeast Sector, produced in 2002, highlights changes as a result of the neighborhood planning process in the 1990s throughout District 2. Improvements in parks and green spaces as well as art projects and pedestrian safety improvements are featured.

Legislative History

map of plat
Rainier Valley Addition map, 1918
Map 1124

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 the 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 2 Councilmember Bruce Harrell are in Record Group 4632-00.

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.