Lake City was born when a railroad worker hung a sign saying "Lake" near the tracks of the Northern Pacific Railroad. The name stuck, and Seattle adopted Lake City in 1957. Car dealerships, strip malls and gas stations sprang up in the area, mostly on Lake City Way. There are many new condos in the Lake City neighborhood, as well as affordable homes in the residential areas.
Lake City has few green fields like Meadowbrook Playfield Park in 10533 35th Ave NE located west of Meadowbrook Pool, and south of Meadowbrook Park Community Garden. Meadowbrook Playfield Park has six tennis courts, three baseball fields, a playground for the kids, picnic areas, open areas for other games, a pond area, and a public bathroom. Another greenfield is Virgil Flaim Park at 2700 NE 123rd St located south of Albert Davis Park and near Lake City Community Center. Virgil Flaim Park has a skateboard park, drinking fountain, basketball courts, open areas for games, and a playground with equipment. And there's also John Rogers Playfield Park in 4098-4000 NE 105th St located east of Meadowbrook Pond.
Few schools are in northern Lake City like Olympic Hills Elementary School (public school, 206-413-2200, olympichillses.seattleschools.org) in 13018 20th Ave NE located in Douglas Park, Seattle Preschool Lake City in 12745 28th Ave NE located near Kingdom Movers, Smart Start Day School (Preschool) in 12729 35th Ave NE, Laurel Academy (high rated Elementary school, 206-522-5992, laurelacademy.org) in 12700 35th Ave NE located east of Dogwood Play Park, and Cedar Park Elementary School (Public K-5, 206-252-4300) in 3737 NE 135th St located east of Cedar Park. The public library is named Lake City Branch The Seattle Public Library (206-684-7518, spl.org/hours-and-locations/lake-city-branch) in 12501 28th Ave NE located east of Albert Davis Park. If you're looking for a tool library, there's NE Seattle Tool Library (206-524-6062, neseattletoollibrary.org) in 10228 Fischer Pl NE located southwest of Meadowbrook Playfield Park.
In the southern Lake City, schools available are Nathan Hale High School (public school, 206-252-3680, halehs.seattleschools.org) in 10750 30th Ave NE located north of Meadowbrook Playfield Park, Jane Addams Middle School (Public 6-8, 206-252-4500, addamsms.seattleschools.org) in 11051 34th Ave NE located north of Nathan Hale High School, John Rogers Elementary School (Public K-5, 206-252-4320, rogerses.seattleschools.org) in 4030 NE 109th St located east of Meadowbrook Pond, Matthews Beach Children's House (Montessori school, 206-466-2039, mbchildrens.com) in 11042 Sand Point Way NE located eastern Lake City and near Home Away From Home Child Care, Seattle Waldorf School (private school, 206.524.5320, seattlewaldorf.org) in 2728 NE 100th St located south of Meadowbrook Playfield Park, and Sacajawea Elementary School (Public K-5, 206-252-5550, sacajaweaes.seattleschools.org) 9501 20th Ave NE located north of Sacajawea Playground and near Morningside.
Most of the shops and restaurants are along Lake City Way NE. Some of the car dealers in the area are Prudent Autodeals Inc (Car dealer) in 14000 Lake City Way NE, Toyota of Lake City (car dealer) in 13355 Lake City Way NE, Pierre Ford (Ford dealer) in 11525 Lake City Way NE, SNS Auto Sales (high rated, Used car dealer) in 13701 Lake City Way NE, Maharaja Motors (Used car dealer)in 14339 Lake City Way NE, Carsmart (high rated, Used car dealer) in 13332 Lake City Way NE, Klean Carz (Used car dealer) in 13323 Lake City Way NE, and Sport Motive Auto Sales (Used car dealer) in 9105 Lake City Way NE. And if you would like to buy some groceries, there are grocery stores available like the Goodies Mediterranean Market in 13721 Lake City Way NE, Kilimanjaro Market in 12714 Lake City Way NE, Fred Meyer in 13000 Lake City Way NE, and Grocery Outlet in 3020 NE 127th St. Homes in the Lake City area have recently sold for between $360k and $3.35 million. To see today's real estate listings in Lake City, Seattle, please click the link below.
The Lake City neighborhood is located in North Seattle. Homes for sale in Lake City include foreclosures (bank-owned homes), short sales, new construction, and traditional resale homes. Home styles range from condos to townhomes and single-family homes.
Lake City is the northeast region of Seattle, centered along Lake City Way NE (SR-522), 7–8 miles (11–13 km) northeast of downtown. A broader definition of the Lake City area includes all the land between 15th Avenue NE and Lake Washington, and between NE 95th and 98th streets to the Seattle city limits at NE 145th Street. Lake City encompasses much of the Thornton Creek watershed, the focus of a long restoration campaign by citizens and Seattle Public Utilities staff to enhance the residential environment of Lake City. Lake City runs along the Northwest shore of Lake Washington.
What is now Lake City has been inhabited since the end of the last glacial period (c. 8,000 BCE—10,000 years ago). The hah-chu-ahbsh (Lake People), now of the Duwamish tribe, Lushootseed (Skagit-Nisqually) Coast Salish, lived in diffuse permanent settlements along the shore of Lake Washington, dispersing in the summer, and in the winter living in large cedar long houses, each home to a couple dozen or more members of extended family groups. The lake people lost their rights in 1854. The Lake City area was clearcut by crude wagon road or by using Lake Washington, from 1850 to around the start of the 20th century, more rapidly with the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway (c. 1886) providing easy access along what is now the Burke-Gilman Trail adjacent to the lake. Wetlands were drained. A Little Germany neighborhood of several immigrant farmers grew up in the 1870s around where Nathan Hale High School now stands.
The Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway operated a passenger stop near the current location of NE 115th St called simply, "Lake". The area was dubbed Lake City by D.H. and R.H. Lee in 1906 after they purchased and platted the land. With the advent of the automobile, the area developed linearly around major roads rather than centrally around trolley stops, as in older Seattle neighborhoods. The road to Bothell and Everett was made all-weather with brick in 1918 and then the new material asphalt in 1928. The automobile relationship with Seattle would shape Lake City development and neighborhood character. Lake City would remain relatively remote and suburban from Seattle until years after WWII.
Transition to a neighborhood community was marked in 1935 with the start of the Lake City Branch Library of today as a few shelves of books in part of a room in Lake City School, shared with the WPA. Sponsorship was by the Pacific Improvement Club community group. Lake City incorporated as a township in 1949 with more than 40,000 residents; rapid growth was a product of a massive influx of young suburban families after World War II. The City of Seattle annexed Lake City and other communities in 1954 when the city limits were expanded from 85th Street to 145th Street. Scout Troop 240 and other volunteers moved thousands of books into a new library building in 1955.
Lake City relies heavily on retail commerce, and business in the area has risen and fallen based on highway expansion in the Seattle area. The expansion of Aurora Avenue North to Everett, Washington cut into business in the 1920s, but Lake City revived after NE 130th Street was paved. The opening of Northgate Mall in 1950 reduced retail business in Lake City, and the area took another hit after the construction of Interstate 5 in the 1960s. Renovation of the city core along Lake City Way NE near NE 125th Street helped revive the local economy in the late 1970s.
In 1916, Washington joined Prohibition, and Lake City saw an upswing in commercial activity. Unincorporated areas of King County accessible by auto became popular locations for speakeasies selling illegal liquor and purveying prostitution and gambling, often in clever guises. One remarkable structure among numerous establishments half a mile south of Lake City was the China Castle, later the Jolly Roger, having a unique tower from which a watchman signaled the approach of police, visible from miles away. In the event of a raid, patrons and employees could leave via tunnels such as one under the highway, easily dispersing via the wooded ravine on the other side.
The Jolly Roger continued as a popular dancehall and restaurant. It was designated a Seattle Historic Landmark in 1979. On 19 October 1989, the restaurant, located at 8721 Lake City Way (formerly Bothell Way) burned in an arson fire. The fire was somewhat suspicious, but only relative to its storied past. Police had neither motive nor suspects. Investigators were not able to determine how the arsonist got inside past a burglar alarm, with no signs of forced entry. At the time, the building had just been purchased the week before from the previous owner, with whom the buyer was entangled in legal and financial red tape. The previous owner was in the building removing his possessions the day before the fire. When firefighters arrived hours after the fire had begun in the basement, a man directed them. He seemed so sure of where the fire began that they assumed he was an employee. After the fire was extinguished, the man could not be found. The owners stated that he was not an employee.
One year after the fire, preservation activists sought to have the structure rebuilt. Before their efforts got off the ground, the building was hastily demolished on 11 January 1991, obviating its appeal. A modern oil company-owned convenience store and gas station now stands on the location.
Within view, slightly south of the former Jolly Roger site, on the south side of Lake City Way, Ying's Drive-In sits on the site of a former Coon Chicken Inn. For nearly three decades, beginning in 1929, the Coon Chicken Inn sold southern-style food in a restaurant whose themes drew heavily on light-hearted, overtly racist stereotypes akin to blackface or the iconic Sambo's on Aurora Avenue N.
In 2006, the newly rebuilt Lake City branch of the Seattle Public Library was re-opened.
Neighborhoods in Lake City
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