Guide to SMA Resources for Council District 3

map of District 3

Listed here is a small selection of records in the Seattle Municipal Archives relating to neighborhoods in District 3, including Capitol Hill, Eastlake, Central Area, First Hill, Leschi, Madison Park, and Montlake. Many more historical resources are available; please contact an archivist for assistance.

The current District 3 Councilmember is Joy Hollingsworth.

Early Records

Capitol Hill electric trolley at 15th and Aloha, 1903
Capitol Hill electric trolley at 15th and Aloha, 1903
Image 64767

The area covered by District 3 has been a part of the City of Seattle since the City was incorporated in 1869. In the following years, Seattle's boundaries gradually shifted as surrounding areas and towns were annexed to the City. 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. General Files related to District 3 neighborhoods may be found in Digital Collections.

Parks and Recreation

Kids at Collins Playfield, circa 1940s
Kids at Collins Playfield, circa 1940s
Image 31368

Parks and public works projects in District 3 are well documented with Engineering and Parks records - for example, the Olmsted planting plan for Volunteer Park. The Don Sherwood Parks History Collection includes records about Cal Anderson Park (formerly Lincoln Park), Judkins Park, Madison Park, Mount Baker Park, Homer Harris Park, and many others.

Parks Planning, Construction, and Maintenance Records contain information about construction and improvement projects for parks across the city, including Powell Barnett Park and Playground, Spruce Street Mini Park, T.T. Minor Play Area, Frink Park, and Firehouse Park.

The Published Documents collection holds reports on the arboretum from the 1960s to the 2000s that include master plans, environmental impact statements, and studies. SMA also holds photographs from the Madrona Dance Studio.

Infrastructure and Public Works

Lincoln Park Reservoir under construction, 1899
Lincoln Park Reservoir under construction, 1899
Image 7280

Records from the Engineering Department, the Board of Public Works, and Seattle City Light document the growth and maintenance of city infrastructure. Planning and construction of roads, from small streets and alleys to major thoroughfares like Empire Way, Montlake Boulevard, and the Montlake Bridge, 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 work relating to the grading and paving of streets, including Montlake and McGilvra Boulevards and Madison and Cherry Streets. Many of the projects carried out by City departments are documented with photographs available in Digital Collections. Projects include the Montlake Bridge, construction of the First Hill substation, street widening and paving projects, and other projects in Montlake, Capitol Hill, Eastlake, and First Hill.

Other records cover the development of Interstate 90, the R.H. Thomson Expressway, and the Bay Freeway. A photo album of the Lake Washington floating bridge construction includes many images that have been scanned and put online.

Sourced from the Cedar River pipeline in the Cascade Mountains, Lincoln Reservoir in Cal Anderson Park served Seattle with 21 million gallons and the city's first hydraulic pump station. Purchased by the City in 1897 from John Nagle, construction of the reservoir began in 1899. Digital Collections includes images, maps, moving images, and textual records from the 1890s through 2010s of Lincoln Park Reservoir and the development of what would become Cal Anderson Park.

Maps of District 3 include zoning maps from 1923, 1947, 1961, and 1973, as well as early plat maps, maps for planning streets, building projects, and others.

Neighborhood Development and Community Services

View down East Hamlin Street in Eastlake, circa 1970s
View down East Hamlin St. in Eastlake, circa 1970s
Image 179543

Seattle's Model Cities program provided funding and support for numerous projects across the city, including those in District 3. SMA holds records documenting the work and development of Model Cities projects such as the Odessa Brown Children's Clinic and the Central Area Motivation Program's projects like the Black Academy of Music and Black Arts/West.

Urban renewal records reflect changes in the Central Area. Photographs in the Yesler-Atlantic Neighborhood Improvement Project Survey Photographs collection include black and white photographs of primarily residential buildings in the Atlantic and Leschi neighborhoods. Urban Renewal records record how the city used federal funds for a variety of projects, one of which was Yesler-Atlantic, dating from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s. A multimedia exhibit includes audio, textual, and photograph holdings on the Yesler-Atlantic T urban renewal project. More context on the City's urban renewal efforts and their impact on the Central District can be found in our online exhibit.

Records for the Capitol Hill Neighborhood Service Center, the Central Neighborhood Service Center, the East District Neighborhood Service Center, and the Central Area Neighborhood District Coordinator document neighborhood planning and city-community engagement at the neighborhood level from the 1970s through the 1990s. Included are citizen concerns relating to I-90 construction and Judkins Park. Department of Neighborhoods records relating to the reuse of the historic Colman School building are collected in the African American Museum Project Records.

Planning and development projects are documented in records such as the Pike/Pine Project Records, Central Area Special Projects Records, and the 12th Avenue Development Plan Records. Photographic surveys of architecture conducted by the Department of Community Development in the 1970s depict residences, businesses, and many other structures. The Central Area, Capitol HillLeschi, Madison Park, and Montlake are among the neighborhoods illustrated.

District 3 neighborhoods were deeply impacted by the creation of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The development of Eastlake, Montlake, and Madison Park 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. Photos from each of the affected neighborhoods can be found on our digital collections site.

Neighborhood News, produced by the Seattle Channel for the Department of Neighborhoods, focused on different neighborhoods around the city. The episode on the East Sector, produced in 2002, is introduced by Mayor Nickels and former Mayor Rice and looks at improvements as a result of the neighborhood planning process. Upgrades to parks, pedestrian improvements, and streetscapes are featured throughout the Central Area, First Hill, and Capitol Hill.

Legislative History

Leschi neighborhood study environmental analysis, 1962
Leschi neighborhood study map, 1962
Map 1965

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 Redlining entry. 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 District 3 Councilmember Kshama Sawant are in Record Group 4679-00.

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.