Planning Commission Yesler-Atlantic Neighborhood Improvement Project Survey Photographs, ca. 1961

Overview of the Collection

Seattle (Wash.). Planning Commission
Planning Commission Yesler-Atlantic Neighborhood Improvement Project Survey Photographs
ca. 1961 (inclusive)
.4 cubic foot, (3 boxes)
348 negatives, (327 photographic prints), (394 digital image files)
Collection Number
Black and white photographic prints and negatives, depicting mostly residential and a few commercial buildings in the Central District, circa 1961.
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2062337807
Fax: 2063869025
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Department of Community Development administered the City's comprehensive plan and provided direction and support for the City's physical and economic development through community planning. DCD was established in 1969 and assumed the responsibilities of the City Planning Commission and the Urban Renewal Program. In 1972, the Office of Economic Development was created in the Department to provide information to businesses that were expanding or relocating in Seattle. DCD was the lead agency for implementing various types of grant funded projects, such as the Neighborhood Improvement Program, Targeted Neighborhood Assistance Program, and Neighborhood Development Program. DCD was abolished in 1992 and its programs were relocated in the Department of Neighborhoods, Department of Housing and Human Services, Planning Department, and other agencies. DCD records include material from the City Planning Commission, Zoning Commission, Metropolitan Arts Commission, Board of Adjustment, and Urban Renewal Program.

The City Planning Commission was created in 1924 to prepare plans and gather data for the development of the City, to advise City Council on current problems and long range planning, and to participate in administration of the City's Zoning Ordinance. An independent nine-member commission was established with adoption of a new City Charter in 1946. It was provided with authority to hire as needed to carry out its planning and advisory functions. The Planning Commission also administered the Board of Adjustment following its creation in 1957.

The city planning process was reorganized in 1980 and the Commission's planning function was transferred to the Department of Community Development. The current Commission is an advisory agency that reviews development plans and reports to the Mayor and City Council. It is composed of 15 members, all of whom must be Seattle citizens.

In 1959, a City ordinance designated the area "bounded by Yesler Way, Empire Way South, Lake Way, Rainier Avenue South, and 14th Avenue South" a "blighted area" and proposed an urban renewal project -- the 340-acre Yesler-Atlantic Neighborhood Improvement Project -- which would fund "rehabilitation, redevelopment, or a combination thereof" with federal dollars. The City was authorized to apply for $89,200 to fund plans and surveys of the area; this figure was later amended to $137,854. A $2 million capital grant was requested to demolish decaying structures and construct and install "streets, utilities, parks, playgrounds...public buildings or facilities..."; displaced families would be relocated.

In 1959, when the federal government expressed concern about the costs of funding the entire project, the area to be improved was divided into two sections (the Yesler-Atlantic "U" and the "T," so named for the shape of the areas covered). The 137-acre "T" was selected as the first to undergo development because a large non-cash grant would accrue from the construction of the New Washington Junior High School in the "T" area. Survey and planning of the area began in 1960.

In 1966, a new plan for the Yesler-Atlantic neighborhood was approved; structural inspections and an economic feasibility study were carried out, and a new project plan was created. A public hearing was scheduled for discussion of the new plan, and some property owners petitioned to have the hearing delayed on the grounds that the City Council had not made known the special procedures that applied to urban renewal hearings. Although their request was denied, the resulting litigation would delay the start of the project until 1968. In 1968, the project received HUD approval. By 1973, 42 homes had been rehabilitated, new complexes had been constructed, and a new park had been completed.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of black and white photographs of mostly domestic residences in the Yesler-Atlantic "U" and "T" areas of Seattle's Central District; the structures shown are primarily located in the Atlantic and Leschi neighborhoods, although other neighborhoods (including Minor, Mann, Stevens, North Beacon Hill, and the International District) are represented. A few images of commercial buildings, streets, and empty lots are included. Additionally, images from the Urban Renewal Office include one of Mayor Clinton receiving a check from the Federal government.

Prints exist for nearly every negative in the collection; however, a few negatives do not have a corresponding print. 394 digitized images are available on our digital platform at the link below. You may also search on a specific job number (such as R-1, R-2, etc.). View 1627-04 online

Other Descriptive InformationReturn to Top

The following is an index containing street names appearing in the collection; for each street name, the job[s] in which it appears are listed.

16th Ave. South: R-4, R-8

17th Ave. South: R-8

18th Ave. South: R-3, R-5

19th Ave. South: R-7, R-9

20th Ave. South: R-3, R-7, R-9, R-12

21st Ave. South: R-3, R-6, R-7, R-9, R-12

22nd Ave. South: R-5, R-11

23rd Ave. South: R-3, R-6, R-8, R-13

24th Ave. South: R-2, R-3, R-5, R-6, R-9, R-11, R-13

25th Ave South: R-1, R-2, R-5, R-9, R-13

26th Ave South: R-1, R-3, R-4, R-5, R-11, R-13

28th Ave. South: R-5, R-6

30th Ave. South: R-5, R-6

31st Ave. South: R-5, R-6

32nd Ave. South: R-5, R-6

33rd Ave. South: R-5

34th Ave. South: R-5, R-6

Atlantic: R-3, R-5

Charles: R-2, R-3, R-6, R-9, R-11

Davis Place: R-2, R-3, R-7, R-9

Day: R-4, R-11

Dearborn: R-1, R-4, R-9, R-12, R-13

East Fir: R-5

East Madison: R-5

East Marion: R-4, R-8

East Spruce: R-5, R-8

Empire Way: R-4, R-5, R-12, R-13

Fir: see East Fir

Hiawatha: R-1, R-2, R-7, R-12

Ingersoll: R-3, R-11, R-12

Irving: R-3, R-4, R-9, R-13

Jackson: R-1, R-2, R-5, R-9

Judkins: R-1, R-2, R-4, R-5, R-9, R-11, R-12, R-13

King: R-1, R-2, R-3, R-9, R-12

Lane: R-1, R-4, R-12

Madison: see East Madison

Marion: see East Marion

Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd: see Empire Way

Norman: R-3, R-11, R-12, R-13

Rainier: R-3, R-12, R-13

Spruce: see East Spruce

Washington: R-5

Weller: R-2, R-11

Yesler: R-5

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

Scanned copies of the photographs are available in the online photograph database. Images are indexed by subject and by neighborhood name. To view all images from this collection, search on the series code (1627-04).

Preferred Citation

[Title of image, date. Item number.] Yesler-Atlantic Neighborhood Improvement Project Survey Photographs, Record Series 1627-04. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Photographs are arranged in batches according to their original order.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Yesler-Atlantic Urban Renewal Project Survey Photographs, ca. 1961Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Survey Photographs: R-1
34 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-2
37 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-3
36 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-4
37 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-5
35 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-6
20 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-7
21 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-8
4 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-9
20 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-11
21 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-12
35 photographs
Survey Photographs: R-13
37 photographs
Survey Photographs: Unidentified
11 photographs

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Apartment houses--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Architecture, Domestic--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Automobiles--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Commercial buildings--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Land use surveys--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs?
  • Stores, Retail--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Urban renewal--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographic prints
  • Safety film negatives

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Yesler-Atlantic Neighborhood Improvement Project (Seattle, Wash.) (creator)