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Historical Society Doings for the First Half of 2020

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

Image by Lana Blinderman Summary of topics

1. Capitol Hill Modern Progress Report | 2. Upcoming Events | 3. Social Media Recap | 4. Capitol Hill and the 1918 Flu Pandemic | 5. Recent Publications From Our Friends and Neighbors

Capitol Hill Modern Progress Report

Headed by CHHS president Tom Heuser and CHHS member Lana Blinderman, our 4Culture-funded historical survey of Mid-Century Modern Multifamily Buildings in Capitol Hill is moving forward! So far 157 buildings have been logged into the state's Wisaard database.

You can learn more about their progress including a closer look at some of their favorite buildings so far, a description of their methodology, a look at the Wisaard database, and the full list of buildings all in this separate blog post.

Also Capitol Hill Seattle Blog recently featured our project. Check it out!

Upcoming Events

Good news! Both of our events for this year have been converted into online events with help from our friends at University Press and Historic Seattle.

Sunday July 12 @ 3pm - The History of Capitol Hill's Olmstead Parks with author Jennifer Ott

Registration is required at the event page in order to receive a link to the Zoom conference 2 hours prior to the event.

Be sure not to miss this one, it should be particularly interesting given recent events at and around Cal Anderson park.

A full event description can be found at the event page.

Photo courtesy Paul Kilpatrick

Wednesday July 15 @ 3:30pm - Seattle (Online) Landmarks Board Meeting for the designation of 1101 E Pike St

Postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown, the city's Historic Preservation Officer Sarah Sodt recently reached out to building owner Liz Dunn and two of the report's authors Tom Heuser and Marvin Anderson to reschedule the meeting for July 15. All three being in favor of this date, we now await its official announcement. To receive details and updates about this meeting, particularly how to attend, please contact Sarah at

Sunday August 16 @ 3pm - Q&A Panel Discussion about Jacqueline B Williams' book The Hill With A Future and Capitol Hill history.

Co-Sponsored with Elliott Bay Book Company, this panel will feature Jackie Williams, former Capitol Hill resident and author of The Hill With A Future; Nan Little, long-time Capitol Hill resident and author of If I Can Climb Mt. Kilamanjaro, Why Can't I Brush My Teeth; Rob Ketcherside, CHHS vice-president and author of Lost Seattle; and finally Tom Heuser, CHHS president.

Registration is required at the event page in order to receive a link to the video conference (most likely Zoom) 2 hours prior to the event.

For those who don't yet have the book, it should be available for purchase online from Elliott Bay Book Company in the coming weeks preceding the event and the day of. If you wish to purchase a copy now, you can do so directly from us at Otherwise, we encourage you to support local businesses during this difficult time by purchasing a copy through Elliott Bay when it becomes available there, they will certainly appreciate it!

Social Media Recap

Several months ago we brought on a new social media coordinator to curate engaging content for our audience. Here's a brief introduction from her and a summary of what she's been up to:

My name is Kitty Gibson, and I was asked to helm the social media accounts for Capitol Hill Historical Society. I graduated with a degree in American History from Mills College and studied gender roles during late 19th century labor organizing in the US. I used to run two history blogs in college. My own personal one and one for the college history club. I had taken a break from history after graduating and went to work in sales for a number of years.

As COVID-19 began, and I had been laid off from my job, I started going on walks around Capitol Hill. I have been a long time resident of Seattle, but only a resident of Capitol Hill in the last two years. The more I walked around each day, the more I fell back in love with this city and neighborhood. I thought it would make for a wonderful series, highlighting little known historic areas of Capitol Hill. As one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, I wanted to bring to light the history the neighborhood has to offer.

One of the favorites were the staircases that connect Capitol Hill to South Lake Union and Eastlake.

Given recent events, especially with the existence of CHOP, and the Black Lives Matter movement, I felt it was best to postpone my walk series in order to feature Seattle’s own history pertaining to racism, redlining, and protest within Capitol Hill. I worked with the CHHS board to prepare a statement (right images) and then for the following five days, I featured links to articles from UW’s Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project.

One in particular I felt was appropriate to share with our followers was Capitol Hill residents' push for keeping the neighborhood exclusive. In particular, their efforts to ensure no African-American could own a home north of E Madison Street through the use of racial covenants. If we are to understand why Seattle, and especially Capitol Hill looks the way it does today, we need to understand that it was no accident.

The rest of the articles I shared for those five days are listed here:

I also included links to local organizations seeking donations such as

My hope with our social media is to better inform locals of the neighborhood’s rich past, as well as the less discussed ways in which Capitol Hill was formed.

Capitol Hill and the 1918 Flu Pandemic

Photo courtesy Eloise Langenbach

At long last this incredible story is finally coming together! At first it seemed there was too little material to work with, but before long, there was too much to work with and now this story has turned into a series.

Stay tuned for additional parts to be gradually released in the coming weeks!

Recent Publications From Our Friends and Neighbors

Some of our friends and neighbors have been staying busy over the past few months submitting their stories of places within or at least very close to Capitol Hill to Historic Seattle's blog. Some for the "Heart This Place" series and one for their "Local Small Business Spotlight." If you know of any publications we missed, please let us know and we will update this list!

By Ana Lena Melka

By Ryan Donaldson

By Bailey Hess, Historic Seattle

By Taha Ebrahimi

That is all for now. Have a wonderful summer and fourth of July!

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