“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
In the late 19th century, Columbia City was separated from Seattle by dense forest. Seattle rapidly expanded in the early 20th century and Columbia City was annexed in 1907. During and after World War II, the area was settled by African American defense workers. Redlining and racism contributed to a steady decline of the population in the 1960s-70s. Gentrification began in the 1980s with an influx of gays and lesbians, artists and urban pioneers seeking bargain housing prices. Property values have skyrocketed since the 1990s and Columbia City is now one of the hottest, hippest, most ethnically diverse destinations in Seattle. With art galleries, live theater and music venues, bars, bakeries and restaurants, Columbia City is the commercial and cultural center for the surrounding neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, Rainier, Lakewood and Seward Park.