Lake City: A View through a Global Lens from a Local Resident

Lake City is located at the north end of the city of Seattle. I have lived here from time immemorial, so I know the district fairly well. Nancy Catone, Lake City of Seattle History

One can arrive at Lake City by way of an Interstate Highway known as I-5. There is an exit at Northgate,130th Street NE and another exit at 145th Street NE which takes you a little further north of us. If you take the Northgate exit you can head northeast and find us; or if you prefer to take the 145th Street exit you will need to follow it east and then turn right onto Lake City Way. Lake City Way is a busy arterial highway. It winds its way through the middle of the verdant neighborhoods but doesn’t touch them all. The Northgate exit is by a shopping center which, by the way, happens to be the very first post-war Mall built in the United States. Northgate also has a Metro Transit Station. Metro bus routes run from SeaTac Airport through downtown Seattle and into Lake City.

Lake City has five big boroughs or neighborhoods: Cedar Park, Meadowbrook, Matthews Beach, Victory Heights and Olympic Hills.  Lake City Way will take you to most of them except Matthews Beach. You will have to get off the beaten path to go there. Cedar Park and Matthews Beach touch Lake Washington; a huge lake that sprawls the entire length of Seattle. There are some aboriginal legends and folklore about the lake that may be of interest to historiy buffs. The Olympic Hills neighborhood touches the north boundary of the city limits and Victory Heights is south of the hills.  Meadowbrook sits in the lowlands between Victory Heights and Matthews Beach.

One can arrive at Lake City by way of the world. If you look at its inhabitants you would certainly feel it is the City of Liberty. It is culturally, socially and ethnically mixed and the people here enjoy and relish in this diversity. You can discover this amazing aspect of Lake City for yourself.  You might want to start with your stomach – we have restaurants and coffee shops for anyone’s favorite country-of-origin taste. If you feel like a walk afterwards, there is a pedestrian path around the local golf course, Jackson Park, and of course, public beaches and parks towards Lake Washington. The golf course is part of Lake City’s equestrian history; which boasted extensive riding paths and polo grounds. Will Rogers and Eleanor Roosevelt rode horses here. Maybe not together, but I’m sure they would have enjoyed the other’s company in the Olympic Hills.

Within the big neighborhoods of Cedar Park, Meadowbrook, Matthews Beach, Victory Heights and Olympic Hills are smaller areas. The Hub or Urban Village of Lake City sits in the central area.  It is also the historical district with the Lake City Library and the Lake City Elementary School designated as historical buildings.  Aside from the beautiful waters and scenery of Lake Washington, Thornton Creek meanders through many of the neighbors until it reaches Lake Washington.

There are plenty of old, welcoming churches to attend and, if not church, we have many pubs for other sorts of entertainment. (There are a couple of Catholic churches that offer confession on Saturday so many of us can enjoy both prayer and libations.) The Jackson Park Golf Course has an 18 hole Championship and a 9 hole Executive course. It was opened in 1930.

Shane Pierre and his family ride as Grand Marshal of the Bill Pierre Auto Centers Grand Parade during Lake City's 70th annual Pioneer Days. The annual festival includes a street fair, salmon bake and parade. Photographed on Saturday, August 4, 2012. (Joshua Trujillo, seattlepi.com)

Shane Pierre and his family ride as Grand Marshal of the Bill Pierre Auto Centers Grand Parade during Lake City’s 70th annual Pioneer Days.

The Lake City Farmers Market opens in spring with fresh vegetables and lots of mingling of old and new friends and vendors.  Each summer there are Pioneer Days (with a parade) and Salmon Bakes for the town folk to celebrate their past and invite the world for a visit.  We have our own Chamber of Commerce and a travel agency, too.

Things have changed over the years, in Lake City, we have Starbucks and cell phone stores and our young people are planning to build a skate park for skate boarders. That’s progress.  But the spirit of this neighborhood hasn’t changed much, it is a City of Liberty – and yet also, just home sweet home, to me.

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About Nancy Catone, Lake City of Seattle History

I live in Lake City up on a hill and watch the everyday events of our neighborhood unfold as they should. There's not much that happens in the world that doesn't happen or influence what happens here. By mixing current events with history and stirring a little of our charm into it., my writing brings out the robust flavor of Lake Ciy. We make our own history. I'm a history buff, one of the many here, our motto "Current Events are tomorrow's history. You are making history."