of rotting refuse. 3518 S Edmunds St odors 31st Ave S 33rd Ave S 32nd Ave S 39th Ave S punctuated by the unholy ay S brimstone” were strongly h S Bennett St ac P parking bus stop sermons about “fire, sin, and 42nd Ave S Be the 1930s. On warm Sundays ier Jr W ravine served as a dump until a in S Bennett St R out to Lake Washington. The to through Columbia Park and s il e S Dawson St a ravine from Hitt’s Hill 3m g creek that flowed through 35th Ave S S Dawson St S Dawson St originally jutted out over the Kin 31st Ave S 2 Church’s east side 28th Ave S 30th Ave S Columbia Baptist 1905 eS 29th Ave S v her nA S Dawson St ing garden. Orca moved to nearby Whitworth in 2007. S Pearl St campus with colorful murals and an award-winning teach- 27th Ave S o cus on the arts and environmental sciences transformed the nt Lut Alternative program moved into the building. Orca’s fo- Re 847 students attending Columbia School. In 1989 the Orca 11 10 at nearby Rainier Vista Housing and peaked in 1958 with rollment surged during WWII with the influx of families rtin S Hudson St 31st Ave S 12 9 and replaced with this Spanish Mission Style building. En- 8 S building St trict in 1907. In 1922 the originalHudsonwas torn down 13 Columbia School became part of the Seattle School Dis- 37th Ave S P a on the first floor while the second story was completed. 14 15 M S Ferdinand St lumbia City in 1892. Two teachers taught 85 students 1 16 18 17 7 Columbia School was built by the citizens of Co- 6 3528 S Ferdinand St 19 5 20 21 Start Here 1 4 S Ferdinand St S Edmunds St S Edmunds St 27th Ave S Crest Pl S 22 3 2 Station S 23 P Columbia City ve S Angeline St 30th Ave S 32nd Ave S rA 24 Park Park Columbia 1892 nie ries, enjoy our shops and restaurants along the way. And while you are soaking in our history and old sto- S Americus St ai numbers on the map will show you where you are. 26 Station, but you may follow any path you’d like. The R S Alaska St just one block east of the Columbia City Light Rail This historic walking tour is designed to start and end Walking Tour S I-90 41st 25 ColumbiaCity 38th Ave S 35th Ave S 33rd Ave S 34th Ave S s to 5 W A 1 miashing ve S 2 mile S to theHistoric le to to Play eld Col um La k n e 99 Rainier Rainier bia nW Welcome University of y Washington 520 9 Old City Hall Seattle Link Light Rail 3551 S Hudson St Capitol Hill Westlake St Lake Washington n iso University Street E d MaDowntown Pioneer Square Seattle Int. District/Chinatown Ra Stadium 90 ini To rAe ve SODO Mount Baker S Beacon Hill Mar Columbia City Station tin L 5 S Edmunds St uthe r Kin g Jr. Othello Way 99 S Rainier Beach 509 Tukwila ColumbiaCity Tukwila Burien 518 International Blvd 405 History SeaTac 5 SeaTac/Airport Restate developer J. K. Edmiston built a streetcar line from Seattle to the newly-platted S 188th St ainier Valley grew up around electric rail at the turn of the 20th century. In 1890, real Landmark District Historic B town of Columbia, hoping to attract buyers for his lots. The strategy worked: in 1893 Columbia City incorporated as a town of its own, with a mayor, a school, two churches, a handful of busi- www.RainierValleyHistory.org nesses, and a few dozen families. y the time Columbia City was annexed to Seattle in 1907, small communities had de- Walking veloped along the streetcar line stations. Later, a road was added alongside the rails, heralding the rise of the automobile as a rival mode of transportation. By the 1930s, many citi- zens considered the unpaved streetcar tracks on Rainier Avenue to be at best a nuisance, and Tour at worst a “thoroughfare of death.” In 1937 the streetcar line, always financially precarious, went www.ColumbiaCitySeattle.com Map Team under and the last streetcar pulled into the car barns. The community celebrated the removal Photos: courtesy of Rainier Valley Historical Society and Museum Of History & Industry of the rails with a three-day festival. Some neighborhoods around the former stations retained Layout: Rosemary McClure Author: Mikala Woodward their distinct identities, Columbia City being a prime example. In 2009, after 60 years, Columbia Coordinator: Karen O’Brien City welcomed the return of electric rail to Rainier Valley with Sound Transit Link Light Rail. 1930 1925 1891 Peirson House. De- D.C. Brown House. 1900 15 21 veloper J.K. Edm- This was the home iston, offered unbeat- of D.C. Brown, Columbia able terms to Columbia’s City’s first marshal. Brown early residents: lots were got the job because of his $300, $10 down and service in the Civil War, but $10 a month. In order to in Columbia City his du- qualify for those terms, ties were usually limited to they had to build a house fixing leaks in the town’s 37th & S Edmunds St 4923 R ainier Ave S within a year. This is one water system and round- Rainier Fuel Co. This site was a wooded knoll with three Columbia Precinct. Columbia City’s original town hall of four remaining houses ing up stray cows. Origi- 3823 S Edmunds St 3 9 was built here in 1892. The building (pictured inside cover) 3815 S Ferdinand ST of the 32 built between homes on top until 1950, when the hill was razed to build nally located at 3815 S. Edmonds, this house was moved the bank. Ralph Nichols’ fuel yard operated on Edmunds St. at was moved two blocks west in 1925 when the City built this po- 1891 and 1892. It was owned by Van R. Peirson, who two lots east in 1936 when Brown built the Shirley Mar- the base of the hill, delivering wood, coal, and ice to local resi- lice precinct on the site. Legend has it that barber Menzo LaPorte, served as mayor of Columbia from 1900 to 1902. vin apartment building, named for his two grandchildren. dents. In addition to running his fuel business, Nichols served known for his high spirits and fiery temper, once locked a sleep- as a Washington State Senator and Seattle City Councilman. ing constable in one of the basement cells, and that after that the 1905 1920 officer always crossed the street when he saw LaPorte coming. 1911 1891 4820 R ainier Ave S 3902 S Ferdinand St Rainier Valley State Bank. This building housed Sim- 22 eon Toby’s Rainier Valley State Bank starting in 1924. Columbia Congregational Church. When J.K. Edm- 16 iston platted Columbia City, he allocated free lots for By 1938 the bank had become a branch of Seafirst Bank. In 4851 R ainier Ave S R ainier Ave S & S Hudson St Rector’s Boys & Mens Shop opened here in 1955. To churches. The Columbia Congregational Church was the first 1950, Seafirst built a new bank building across Rainier Av- 4 attract business, Harold Rector sponsored portraits of Columbia Mill. Columbia City’s earliest industry was log- enue, where the wooded knoll had recently been leveled. 10 ging. A mill operated just south of Hudson St. until 1892, to take advantage of this offer. The church’s first pastor, U.G. the Franklin High School Football Team and posted them Murphy, had served as a missionary in Japan and worked to This building became Cleo’s Apparel, a women’s clothing shipping lumber north on the streetcar rails to rebuild Seattle after store that served the wives and sisters of Harold Rector’s in the window. “The girlfriends came to see the pictures—I promote understanding between the U.S. and Japan. He later the Great Fire of 1889. A lumber yard operated at the SW corner customers (see #4). Like Rector’s, Cleo’s Apparel closed in had lipstick all over the glass!” Rector’s quickly became provided assistance to Japanese internees during WWII. of Rainier & Hudson through the 1960s. This corner was also the 1980s during Columbia City’s economic decline. In 1999 the premier men’s clothing store in the Rainier Valley, sell- home to Columbia City’s first gas station. Automobiles became a Starbucks opened here as part of a campaign by Magic ing Levi’s, dress clothes, and everything in between. When more and more popular through the 1930s, eventually replacing 1921 Rector’s introduced leather jackets from Europe in 1957, Johnson to bring coffeeshops to underserved neighborhoods. the streetcar as Rainier Valley’s primary mode of transportation. people came from as far away as Portland to buy them. 1921 1910 Phalen Hall was built 1892 5 by the Knights of Py- thias as an ornate two-story meeting hall. In 1900 Bill Phalen bought the building and opened a grocery store on the first floor. Phalen, an energetic community 3806 S Ferdinand St 4812 R ainier Ave S leader, started the Volun- Columbia Motor Company was one of several car deal- Ark Lodge. Ark Lodge #126 was built in 1921 by the 17 23 Free & Accepted Masons, who first organized their teer Fire Department and 5000 R ainier Ave S erships in town in the mid-20th century. Saleseman Zeke a local baseball team. He Royal Esquire Club. The Royal Esquire Club, an Af- LeMay’s legendary ability to move cars earned him many prizes Columbia City chapter in 1903. The Masons and their sis- served as Columbia City’s 4863 R ainier Ave S 11 rican-American social club, was started in 1948 by five from Chevrolet, as well as the reputation that he could “sell a wid- ter organization, the Order of the Eastern Star, met up- last mayor, overseeing Co- young men who were not permitted to join the established ow a two-pants suit to bury her husband in.” LeMay and partner stairs, while the Heater Glove Factory occupied the first lumbia’s annexation to the City of Seattle in 1907. In 1941 a fire social clubs in town because of their race. The Club began in Herb Jose bought the business from owner Pierre Weiss in 1934 floor. Heater made leather gloves and other goods, including destroyed the second story, which had served as a dance hall. the Central District but moved to this location in 1989, where and operated it until 1945, when LeMay left the auto business Jack Dempsey’s boxing gloves and the helmet Charles Lind- The oak floor protected the first floor, which still stands here. it remains an anchor for the African-American community. and opened the first bowling alley in Seattle, on Empire Way. bergh wore on his historic flight across the Atlantic in 1927. 1928 1920 Dodge Building. 1908 1915 18 Built by Charles Dodge, this building origi- nally had three separate storefronts. The busi- nesses that operated here included Menzo LaPorte’s Barbershop & Poolroom, a grocery, a radio shop, and several jewelers. Many 4916 R ainier Ave S 4868 R ainier Ave S 4869 R ainier Ave S of the building’s early 4721 R ainier Ave S Columbia Theater. Columbia City’s citizens watched Columbia Confectionery. In the 1920s Nick Vamkros’ 12 tenants were women: jeweler Emma Bedow, optician Nellie movies here from 1920 into the 1950s. The theater’s unusu- Columbia Library. Along with several other libraries 6 confectionery sold sweets to school children in 5¢ grab Bedow, and milliners Mrs. Brown & Jennie Sessions. In the 24 in Seattle, the Columbia Library was built with Carnegie al T shape stems from a law requiring “amusement” businesses bags. The Rainier Businessman’s Club, precurser to the Rainier 1920s and ‘30s, Ed Kinnee operated Columbia Drug store funds. At that time Columbia Park was still a garbage dump and to be located more than 500 feet from a school. Thus the the- Chamber of Commerce, met here as well. In 1989 Gwen Baker on the corner. Pharmicist Russ Stiles dispensed medicines Rainier Avenue was a planked strip next to the streetcar tracks. ater had a marquee on Rainier Avenue, but its official entrance opened the Wellington, a pioneering business in Columbia in the back, and a soda fountain counter occupied the front. was at the end of a ramp beyond the retail shops along Rainier. City’s revitalization. Baker’s elegant African-American Victo- 1908 1907 rian restaurant offered high tea complete with cream scones and 1926 strawberries, plus peach cobbler and other Southern delicacies. 1893 4567 R ainier Ave S 4860 R ainier Ave S Columbia Funeral Home. Opened by Fred & Geor- 4910 R ainier Ave S Grayson & Brown Building. Grayson & Brothers 25 gia Rasmussen, this business was bought by long-time 13 Barbershop. Barber Menzo LaPorte (second from the 19 Hardware and Furniture started next door in the Toby employee Wilbert Lewis in the 1950s and is currently oper- 4871 R ainier Ave S right) built this building as a home for his barbershop, Building in 1903. In 1911 the business moved into the Brown ated by his son Paul. The Columbia Funeral Home’s immacu- Hepler Grocery. The Hepler family poses in front of their which had operated at several locations in Columbia City. building, which had housed the Rainier Valley Record until late grounds are transformed every Christmas into an elabo- 7 grocery store with Columbia School visible behind. The LaPorte served as Columbia City’s barber into the 1960s. an explosion of the kerosene-fueled press killed the news- rate holiday display that draws visitors from all over the city. store was a gathering place: mail was delivered there and bands paper’s owner. The business became Grayson & Brown in The building appeared in the HBO Series “Six Feet Under.” played music on the balcony. In 1913 the Rainier Valley In- 1891 1915 when Will Brown, son of D.C. Brown, retired as su- vestment Company erected a brick building on the site. Since perintendent of the streetcar line and joined Ed Grayson in 1921 1969 the Rainier Lions Club has owned the building, housing the business. Grayson & Brown continued to sell hardware blind students and offering office space to local non-profits. and furniture under the ownership of two more generations of the family before finally closing its doors in the 1980s. 1905 1907 Toby Building. 20 Legend has it that Simeon Toby in- tended to build a bank 4900 R ainier Ave S in Hillman City— 3515 S Alask a St Columbia Hotel. Joseph Hellenthal, a German ma- one mile south—but Rainier Valley Cultural Center. This Greek re- 14 son, built the first brick building in Columbia City as a 26 vival building was originally built as a Chris- got off the streetcar 4915 R ainier Ave S home for his family. Hellenthal served on the first Columbia in Columbia to visit tian Science Church. In 1993 a coalition of non-prof- Jack Monahan’s Boar’s Nest was a pool room and Town Council. The Hellenthal home became a hotel, oper- his friend Will Brown its bought the building and turned it into the Rainier 8 barbershop, a combination that provided a comfort- ated by the Purkeypile family. The Columbia Hotel’s guests 4850 R ainier Ave S Valley Cultural Center, which houses theater and arts programs. first. Brown persuaded able place for men to relax in a town with no saloons. After included Buffalo Bill Cody. The building housed several him to open his bank in Columbia instead. The bank oper- • the barbershop moved across the street in 1915 (see #13), this other businesses, including a speakeasy, a dry goods store, ated here from 1903 to 1924, when it moved across the street To return to the start, just follow the winding sidewalk through building housed an auto repair business and then a telephone and a tavern called Slim’s. In 1997 Lottie Motts Coffee (see #22). Toby is also known as the “Father of Columbian Columbia Park. This sidewalk, which lights up bright blue at and radio shop. After prohibition ended it became a tavern Shop opened here, part of a new wave of revitalization in the Way,” in honor of his role in persuading the City to build a night, follows the flow of the original stream that ran through called the Pink Poodle. It has been Angie’s Tavern since 1985. neighborhood. Lottie Mott’s became Lottie’s lounge in 2007. road from Columbia City over Beacon Hill to Georgetown. Columbia City 100 years ago.
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