Seattle Central District

Just east of downtown, Seattle's "CD" was a historically Black neighborhood. In a time of racist housing practices, the hilly Central District was a place to live if you were Black, Jewish ,or Asian. Walk and see, visit...what does one do and see here???

on the trail

Seattle's Central District is a diverse residential cluster of historically African-American neighborhoods. It stretches east from I-5, west from Madrona and Leschi, south from Madison Ave, and north from Mount Baker. Garfield High School and Garfield Playfield sit at the heart of the Central District, also known as "CD." Enjoy a walk in a neighbor steeped with history.

Culture, art and history exhibits are on display at the Northwest African American Museum. The 1915 Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, a former synagogue, is an arts hub showing films, plays and musicals. Ethiopian and soul food eateries dot the district, along with an increasing number of hip bars and cafes. With the 1936 Kroll real estate map, you can walk the "redline" that marked the boundary of neighborhoods where Blacks and other minorities could buy a home in the days of Seattle's racist housing covenants. The largest reform synagogue in the Northwest, Temple de Hirsch Sinai, is only a few blocks from Seattle University's architectural gem, the Chapel of St Ignatius, and a cluster of church spires mark the Roman Catholic parishes by night.

about the central district

A couple quick definitions: Racial covenants kept homeowners from selling or renting their properties to blacks, Asians, and often Jewish people.'Redlining' was used after the Great Depression and literally involved coloring certain neighborhoods red on city maps to mark supposedly “hazardous” financial areas. It was used by banks and the real estate industry as an excuse for denying home loans or making interest rates sky-high for people who lived there.

"You guessed it: Those areas were the neighborhoods where many people of color, particularly black Seattleites, were already living.  Because of this, the CD and the International District were essentially the only places many minorities, particularly black folks, were allowed to live.

Anna Sofia Knauf, The Evergrey, January 2019

  • Land Manager: City of Seattle
  • Parking Permit Required: None
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 20
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12

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  • Garfield High School
  • Garfield Playfield
  • Firehouse Mini Park

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