Dig deep into history

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Miss Southwest Seattle Court, 1940, courtesy of Southwest Seattle Historical Sociey Photograph from studio of Tay Takano in Seattle, courtesy of Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience Collection: 2006.043.012, courtesy of Renton History Museum Nisei soldier with parents in Minidoka, Idaho incarceration camp, c. 1944, courtesy of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project Two young YMCA members, c. 1960, courtesy of Southwest Seattle Historical Society

King County, Washington is as culturally diverse as its geography. Bordered by the Cascade Mountains to the east, the Puget Sound to the west, and laced through with fertile river valleys, it’s an area rich in natural and social history. 4Culture offers free historical papers to guide researchers in search of that history. Historical Papers include studies, bibliographies, chronologies and resource guides. Links to Online Resources with a brief description of their holdings lead to local archives and repositories.

King County History

Overview of King County History

Provides a brief chronological framework for the historical development of communities around King County. [pdf]

Incorporations In King County

Outlines the history of incorporation of cities and towns in King County. [pdf]

Schools & Education In King County [bibliography]

A list of resources relating to educational history in Seattle and King County. [pdf]

King County Planning Areas History [bibliography]

A list of major references about the history of geographic areas of King County. [pdf]

Seattle Neighborhood History [bibliography]

A list of readily available resources to help those interested in researching Seattle's neighborhoods. [pdf]

King County History [bibliography]

Includes publications on aspects of King County History that are countywide in focus or that relate to King County Government. [pdf]

Business History In King County [bibliography]

Limited in scope and does not contain references relating to landmarks and historic districts, sports enterprises, business catalogs, and other topical subject material that is addressed by other papers in this collection. [pdf]

King County Agricultural History [bibliography]

A list of major references to the history of agricultural development and resources in King County. [pdf]

King County Transportation History [bibliography]

Basic reference material for the study of transportation history in King County. [pdf]

Medical History of King County [bibliography]

A list of major references relating to medical history, technology and biography of King County.  [pdf]

Theatre History of King County [bibliography]

A preliminary listing of resources relating to Theatre history in Seattle and King County.  [pdf]

Cemetery Heritage Resources [bibliography]

Cemeteries and funerary objects are often significant heritage resources, of value beyond their traditional role as personal and family memorials or religious sacramentals. [pdf]


Regional History

Map & Place Name Resources

Geographical knowledge is an essential underpinning of community and regional history. It is also a primary element of the Essential Academic Learning Requirements for students in the public schools of Washington State. [pdf]

Ethnic Heritage & Cultural Legacies

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Information about public places in King County and historic places elsewhere in the United States which are associated with Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. [pdf]

Filipino American Heritage Guide

Basic contact information about some of the significant organizations and agencies involved in the preservation and interpretation of Filipino American heritage resources in King County.  [pdf]

Native American Heritage Resources

A brief introduction to Native American Heritage resources and services in King County. [pdf]

Regional Native American Stories & Oral Literature

Sources of English translations, as well as some Lushootseed recordings and transcriptions, of the oral literature of Lushootseed speaking Coast Salish peoples of Puget Sound. [pdf]

African American Heritage Resource Guide

Basic information about some of the significant organizations and agencies involved in the preservation and interpretation of African-American heritage resources in King County. [pdf]

The WPA Legacy In King County [bibliography]

Basic reference material about the legacy in King County of the Works Progress Administration, a federal public works program established in 1935. [pdf]


Heritage Community

Growth Of The Heritage Community

An overview of some of the significant trends, events and factors which have shaped the growth of the heritage community of King County. [pdf]

The Cultural Legacy Of Lodging Revenue In King County

Since the state authorizing law was passed in 1967, King County's use of the 2% hotel-motel tax revenues has been subjected to complex restrictions and conditions unlike those of any other jurisdiction in the state.  [pdf]

2% Lodging Tax Revenues In King County

Timeline relating to usage of "hotel-motel" or lodging tax revenues in King County. [pdf]

Heritage Tourism Literature

An introduction to a significant body of heritage tourism literature in a variety of formats pertaining to Seattle and King County. [pdf]

The Evolution of 4Culture: A Chronology

Chronology of significant events relating to the evolution of 4Culture and its component programs and predecessor agencies. [pdf]

Heritage Program Chronology

Outlines the evolution of the Heritage Program of the Cultural Development Authority (CDA) of King County from its predecessor programs and agencies within King County government. [pdf]


King County History

King County Archives

A repository of historical county government records. [website]

King County Recorder's Office

Source for officially-recorded documents, maps relating to property, marriage certificates and other recorded personal documents (for example, wills, name changes, military discharge papers). [website]

King County Department of Development and Environmental Services

Source of building and land use permitting documents and maps for unincorporated King County.  [website]

King County Division of Road Services, Map and Record Center

Holds documents, maps and drawings related to current and historical road and street construction, inspection and maintenance in unincorporated King County. [website]

King County Snapshots

Presents King County, Washington, through more than 12,000 historical images carefully chosen from thirteen organizations' collections. These cataloged 19th and 20th century images portray people, places, and events in the county's urban, suburban, and rural communities. [website]

Seattle Room, Seattle Public Library

Contains items about Seattle's history and includes published materials, Seattle city documents, newspaper clippings, maps and atlases, high school yearbooks, oral histories and more than 30,000 photographs, including photos of historic Seattle, Native Americans, streets, businesses and portraits. [website]

Seattle Municipal Archives

Holds over 10,000 cubic feet of records documenting the history, development, and activities of the agencies and elected officials of Seattle. [website]


Regional History

Puget Sound Regional Archives

Branch of the Washington State Archives system for preserving local government records. Examples of records retained there are older tax assessment records, court case files, and some records of the King County Commissioners (1853-1969). Source of Non-County Records Relating to King County History.  [website]


A web-based encyclopedia featuring essays and other independent research relating to Seattle, King County, and Washington State. [website]

Museum of History and Industry

Collects, preserves and presents the rich history of the Pacific Northwest. [website]

Special Collections Division, University of Washington Libraries

Major resource for rare and archival materials covering a broad range of topics related to the history of the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and Western Canada. [website]