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King County Neighborhoods: Community Places

Records in the King County Archives can provide information about community places and structures such as businesses, schools, parks, places of worship, and transportation routes.


Some records in the collections of the King County Archives contain information about businesses which may have been located in neighborhoods. The King County Archives does not maintain records of the businesses themselves in its collections. A bibliography (external link) of published materials about King County business history is available online.

Please contact the Archives for further information about the following records:

Department of Transportation photograph and moving image files, 1900-2002.

This series contains aerial and ground photographs of commercial areas adjacent to county road projects. Some of the areas included are Auburn, Burien, Eastgate, Highline area (especially near and along Ambaum Boulevard), North City, Richmond Beach, Shoreline, and Tolt (Carnation). Historical images of Boeing Airplane Company workers are also present in this series. For questions, or to access these records, please contact us with the name of the road, street name, intersection or subject term.

Commissioners' liquor license files, 1901-1916.

This series contains applications, correspondence, protests and petitions for and against the issuance of county licenses for saloons and billiard halls, up to the time of local option prohibition. Included are letters of recommendation from breweries and a list of saloons in the county whose license fees were partially refunded when prohibition took effect in 1912.

Road Engineer bridge files (photographs), 1904-1988.

A few images of commercial structures (stores, gasoline stations, automobile repair shops, etc.) located near county bridges may be found using section-township-range coordinates or by subject term.

Seattle-King County Department of Public Health photograph files, 1909-1970.

This large collection of photographs includes images of businesses which were subject to Health Department inspection and oversight including bakeries, dairies, laundries, markets (including the Pike Place Market), meat packing plants, nursing homes, restaurants and roadside ice vendors (1930s).

Commissioners' state regulatory agency cause files, 1910-1939

Washington State, through its agencies, regulates and supervises providers of public utilities and transportation systems within the state. These records consist of King County's copies of documents filed with state regulators in causes which either directly affected county property (e.g., county roads and rights-of-way) or were those in which King County maintained an interest (i.e., where the actions affected unincorporated areas of the county).

One group of documents relate to railroad grade crossing permit files, 1910-1941. These files consist of (a) applications to these agencies (by King County commissioners and by railroad, streetcar and logging companies) for construction or modification of grade crossings on King County roads; and (b) challenges by King County or railroad companies to the applications. Principal railroad companies represented include the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway Company (Milwaukee Road); the Great Northern Railway Company; the Northern Pacific Railway Company, the Pacific Coast Railroad; and the Puget Sound Electric Railway Company.

Many logging railroads are also represented. Record types include copies of application documents (petitions, interrogatories and answers, maps); copies of official orders and permits; correspondence; copies of County Auditor filings; and copies of County Engineer record cards for each cause. Arrangement is by state agency cause number.

Corporate statements, 1930-1965

Washington State required companies that sold stock to state residents to maintain an office in the state, and to file annual statements regarding the companies' financial condition. Duplicate annual statements were filed with the state Department of Licenses and with the auditor of the county in which the company's principal office was located.

This record series consists of records that were filed with the King County auditor. The filings are principally the statutory statements of mining companies selling stock within Washington State. The actual properties of most companies were located in other states but records for Washington companies in Benton, Grays Harbor, Kittitas, Okanogan, Pierce, Snohomish and Whatcom counties are present. Also present (particularly for the period 1960-1965) are records for other types of corporations, including Seattle and King County businesses and non-profit organizations.

Records for each company may include articles of incorporation, bylaws, company histories, annual narrative and financial reports, prospectuses and circulars, sample stock certificates, maps and plans of sites and facilities, equipment inventories, geological reports, photographs, and copies of other legal instruments. Records are arranged by the Auditor's filing number (roughly chronological).

Engineering Land Survey description cards, 1936-1941.

These land survey cards often include a hand-drawn sketch of the area surrounding the survey marker or section/quarter-section corner. The sketches may show commercial structures (some with business names). Access is by section-township-range coordinates. Please contact the Archives for assistance in accessing these records.

Justice Court liquor search dockets, Seattle district, 1938-1942

This series contains warrants issued by Judge Guy B. Knott to search for liquor on commercial premises. Record information includes the name of defendant (often "John Doe"), address of premises (or description of their location when no address is available), and name of person filing charges. Information relating to the scope and extent of search may also be present. Many sites searched for liquor were in the Pioneer Square or Jackson Street area of Seattle.

Commissioners' license files, 1959-1969.

This series contains applications and records of licenses and permits granted for dances, pool halls, card rooms, bowling alleys, amusement parks, archery lanes, raceways, skating rinks, and other entertainment-related businesses. Files consist of the application form, with county action written on the face of the form. Related correspondence may be attached. The county's receipt book for fee payments made between April 1966 and March 1967 is also present. The records are arranged numerically by file number.

Planning Department land use maps, 1959-1972.

Large scale neighborhood maps show businesses identified by type. The maps are arranged by section-township-range coordinates.

Please contact the Archives for more information about the above records.


From 1853 to 1971, an elected county Superintendent of Schools oversaw King County public schools. Since 1971, local school districts have been organized into regional educational service districts under state oversight.


A small number of records at the King County Archives relate to schools in the county. Please contact the Archives for information about the following records:



Auditor's state examiner reports reference file, 1905-1926

The Bureau of Inspection and Supervision of Public Offices functioned as an independent state agency between 1909 and 1921. It was charged with the final fiscal auditing of all county account books. This reference file, maintained by the King County Auditor, consists of summary reports (covering one year or several) of primarily fiscal audits of King County officials and agencies. Some administrative and procedural commentary and recommendations may be included.

School districts for which reports are present include Auburn, Black Diamond, Bothell, Burton, Carnation, Des Moines, Duvall, Enumclaw, Factoria, Fall City, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, North Bend, Oak Lake, Pacific, Ravensdale, Redmond, Renton, Richmond Beach, Skykomish, Tolt, and Tukwila.



Department of Transportation photograph and moving image files, 1900-2002.

This collection includes images of students walking to school on streetside pathways; high school bands participating in road and bridge opening ceremonies; students participating in civic cleanup events and in environmental education activities; school buildings; and school crossing signs.



Seattle-King County Public Health photograph files, 1909-1970

This collection includes images of school nurses, students participating in school health programs (Valley Elementary School and others), and a gas explosion at Hobart School.



King County Park system photograph files, 1948-1998

This collection visually documents park and recreation facilities and programs in King County during the last half of the twentieth century. One topic prominently represented by images are the facilities and programs, particularly athletic fields and swimming pools, developed (1950s - 1970s) by King County in partnership with local school districts.



Health survey data files, 1980-1991

This series consists of health survey data compiled by the Data Management and Evaluation Division of the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health. Teen surveys were conducted to assess the services of Rainier Beach High School Teen Health Center, opened in fall 1988, and to assess whether other schools (e.g. Sealth High School) might want to start health centers. The series primarily contains mainframe printouts of anonymous survey data; however there are also memoranda, handwritten notes and charts, and background information on the surveys.
The survey data are arranged by survey site, printout variable and date. Edit variables for printouts include race, age, gender, family income, and parental status. Other factors include health insurance status; ability to pay for services; use of prenatal, child care and food program services; and use or non-use of the County's Public Health program.


King County Document Collection

This series contains individual reports and studies by King County agencies. Documents relating to schools include financial analyses, statistics, community school planning documents, environmental impact studies for specific schools, and a small number of curriculum materials relating to safety and environmental education.

Please contact the Archives for more information about the above records.



The Puget Sound [state] Regional Archives (external link) maintains historical records of the King County Superintendent of Schools (1877-1977) as part of its collection of records of the Puget Sound Educational Service District #121. The Regional Archives also maintains collections of records of individual school districts, including Bellevue, Highline, Issaquah, Kent, Lake Washington and Seattle.


Seattle Public Schools (Seattle School District #1) also maintains its own archives and records management program (external link).


A bibliography of published materials relating to King County school history is available online (external link).

















King County Parks
Since the 1930's, King County has maintained a large system of parks, trails, and recreation facilities and programs. A short illustrated history of King County parks is available online.

Unless otherwise indicated, please contact the King County Archives for more information about the following records:

Road Services Division historical maps and plans, 1911-1947.

Until the establishment of King County's Parks and Recreation Department in 1948, the County Engineer was responsible for oversight and maintenance of a small number of county parks. Plans of several early county parks were retained in King County's later engineering records: Auburn Park (1911, 1914); Kirkland Recreation Park (1935); White Center Ballfield (1946); Enatai County Park (1947); Enumclaw Golf Course (1951), and the Snoqualmie Falls "comfort station" (rest room; 1925).

Commissioners' Parks files, 1935-1969

The Parks files contain resolutions, correspondence and property records concerning acquisition and development of County parks, including documentation about the transfer of park property to other uses and jurisdictions. Please contact the Puget Sound [state] Regional Archives (external link) for further information about these records.

Department of Transportation photograph and moving image files, c. 1939-1940.

This series contains photographs of the construction of community field houses in Des Moines, Enumclaw, North Bend (Si View), Preston, and White Center. Funding for the field houses was provided in part by the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Parks photograph files, 1940-1988

The King County Parks System photograph collection visually documents park and recreation facilities and programs in King County from 1948 to 1998.

The collection's seven subseries reflect the activities of King County Parks across this time period:

  • Park sites and facilities (including former and proposed county parks, and municipal parks located within King County)
  • regional trails
  • swimming pools
  • recreation programs
  • major local or regional events sponsored by King County Parks (including Junior Olympics, Washington Games for Disabled Youth, Marymoor Heritage Festival, the Return to Newcastle, and the King County Fair)
  • administrative and staff photographs
  • photographs of miscellaneous subjects. Photographic formats include black-and-white prints and negatives, color prints and negatives, 35mm color slides, and glass slides (color and black-and-white)

Specific topics prominently represented by images include: 1950s recreation programs for women, girls and disabled youth; facilities and programs developed in partnership with local school districts (1950s-1970s); facilities, particularly swimming pools, developed through the Forward Thrust capital improvement program (1968); recreation and leisure programs in the 1990s; and the development of regional parks and trails (1970s-1990s). Aerial photographs, mostly from approximately 1969-1975, are present for many park sites and their adjacent neighborhoods.

Arrangement within each subseries is alphabetical by name of park, facility, event, or type of recreational program; administrative photographs are arranged chronologically. Images have not generally been described individually. Some images may also be protected by copyright.

Parks history files, 1949-1977

This series consists of agency and program histories written or compiled by Parks staff; brochures, posters, graphics, programs and other material intended for short-term distribution or use; manuscripts, and photocopied newspaper clippings.

Project file: Seahurst County Park, 1971-1977

This series contains backgroundmaterials for the report prepared by the Ecology Study Team on behalf of the Design Commission (King County document 3468). Record information includes administrative details of the project, scientific notes and data, a copy of the final report, as well as subsequent publications in response to the initial report. Also included are site plans and some photographs of Seahurst Park.

Department of Natural Resources and Parks- Parks Division aerial photographs, 1977-1990

This series is composed of aerial photographs from the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks: Parks Division. The images are captured on large sheets of printed Mylar film. The photographs are arranged alphabetically by location or park name.

Parks cultural history research project, 1994-1995

This material is the result of the Cultural History Research Project of the King County Park System, Interpretive Programs Office. Text files are arranged alphabetically by park name. Most files include meeting and research notes, historical and parks planning materials, and miscellaneous other materials. Occasionally the master plan for the park covered by the file is also included.

Parks included in the text files are: Beaver Lake, Coal Creek-Newcastle, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland, Daniels Creek, Jenkins Creek, Lake Wilderness, Marymoor, Maury Island Marine, Newcastle History, Richmond Beach, Soos Creek, and Three Forks Conservation Area. This series also includes oral history video tapes and transcripts.

Office of Cultural Resources parks history files, 1997-2002

From 1982 to 1996, county oversight of its cultural resource programs was joined organizationally with that of its park system. When, in 1997, the Cultural Resources Division became the Office of Cultural Resources under the County Executive, the agency retained its interest in county parks. Of particular interest to the Office's Landmarks and Heritage Program were potentially historic structures located in the parks.

These subject files reflect materials collected by agency personnel, both before and after 1997, on the history and built environment of county parks. Most material dates from 1976-2002 but some earlier items are present, mostly as photocopies.

Record types include letters and memoranda; notes; inventories; narrative histories by Park System personnel; reports; maps; publications; excerpts from books; material intended for short-term distribution or use (brochures, flyers, postcards); and press releases and copies of newspaper clippings. A small number of photographs are present, principally for Beaver Lake Park (Sammamish); these include color slides by Mary Randlett. Record arrangement is alphabetical by general topic (Box 1) and by name of event, park site, or swimming pool (Box 2).

Please contact the Archives for more information about the above records.

Places of Worship

As a government archives, the King County Archives maintains no historical records of religious congregations. However if a named place of worship or a congregation had business with county government agencies or officials, there may be a record of the transaction in the Archives' holdings. For instance:

  • Churches may appear in photographs or their locations may be noted on maps.
  • Articles of incorporation or mergers may be noted in corporate filing records.
  • Correspondence relating to specific congregations, usually in connection with land use and permitting issues, may be present in subject, issue, and legislative files.

Archives staff can assist users in searching for records that may be present for specific places of worship.

Transportation Routes

For information about researching old roads that may have crossed your community, please visit our Street and Road Records page. On the King County Archives site, the Historical Transportation Records page lists records that document modes of transportation and transit routes in King County.

A list of published materials about King County transportation history is online (external link).