City of Seattle annexes Columbia City on May 3, 1907.

  • By Cassandra Tate
  • Posted 5/30/2001
  • Essay 3321
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In 1907, just two years after voting to incorporate as an independent, third class city, Columbia City residents agree to be annexed to Seattle, giving up a measure of independence in return for improved municipal services.

Columbia City, founded as a mill town in 1892, qualified for "city" status in 1905, when its population reached the required 1,500. Rejecting a move for annexation at that time, the residents voted instead to advance, under the laws of Washington, from a "Town of the Fourth Class" to a "City of the Third Class."

Opponents of annexation argued that as an independent entity, Columbia City could enjoy lower taxes and more local control, particularly on the issue of saloons. The town prided itself on never having had a saloon within its corporate limits, and many citizens feared that annexation would open up an alcoholic floodgate.

By 1907, however, the mood had changed. On March 5, the voters approved annexation, with 109 in favor and only three opposed. Columbia City officially became part of Seattle when the election results were filed with the secretary of state, on May 3.


"Centennial History: Columbia City, Rainier Valley, 1853-1991," dated 1992, comp. by Carey Summers for Pioneers of Columbia City, Rainier Valley Historical Society, Seattle, Washington; Records of the City of Columbia, City of Seattle, Municipal Archives, Seattle, Washington.

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