Consignment shop

PHOTO TEST: History in Motion—Columbia City Historic District

by Hazel Choi


The Columbia City Historic District is a nationally recognized historic district located in the Columbia City neighborhood of the Rainier Valley. According HistoryLink.org, there are 14 historic sites in Columbia City. Over the past few decades, the region has undergone enormous changes due to development and gentrification.

Community amenities in the area include lush Columbia Park, Bob’s Quality Meats along Rainier Avenue, and Ark Lodge Cinemas. Today, these pillars join several restaurants, cafes, and consignment shops ready to welcome anyone who visits Seattle’s Southside neighborhood.

A Columbia City resident named Howard picnics with his family on a Sunday in Columbia Park. Howard often goes on picnics with his son who has just taken a step. Her son does not know how to stay still for a moment. (Photo: Hazel Choi)
A person studies on the steps of a branch of the Seattle Public Library
Susan Altshuler, a student at South Seattle College, spends her Sunday afternoon doing her homework at the Seattle Public Library. The residents of Columbia City included a library in their first public building, a town hall built by private subscription in 1891. Today’s library is surrounded by gently sloping lawns and clusters of towering maple trees. (Photo: Hazel Choi)
A person stands behind the register at the Ark Lodge Cinemas concession stand
Tony, an employee of Ark Lodge Cinemas, said: “This small, historic old cinema is literally nostalgia.” Even though there are only three screens at Ark Lodge, the warmth this place offers is beyond words. (Photo: Hazel Choi)
A woman wearing a mask sits with her small dog on an outdoor bench
“Priscilla is the friendliest dog,” said Amera Bharadwaj, a Columbia City resident on a walk in the neighborhood. “He loves to walk around here every weekend.” (Photo: Hazel Choi)
A visitor to the Columbia City Gallery holds up an artwork after asking permission to touch and choose his favorite piece
Brian Barton, a 31-year-old software engineer, chooses his favorite piece at the Columbia City Gallery after getting permission to touch the artwork. (Photo: Hazel Choi)
An employee stands behind the counter at Bob's Quality Meats
Michael, an employee of Bob’s Quality Meats. This butcher shop has been a staple of the 4800 block of Rainier Avenue South since the early days of Columbia City. “Customers come to our store not just to buy, but also to enjoy,” Michael said. “I am very grateful for this and I work happily.” (Photo: Hazel Choi)
Volunteers pause from assembling flowers to hand out and smile at the camera
Southeast Youth & Family Services volunteers celebrate May Day by handing out free flowers to residents of Columbia City. (Photo: Hazel Choi)
Two friends sit outside Cafe Olympia sipping their drinks and laughing
Two friends in purple debrief their weeks at one of Olympia Coffee’s outdoor tables. The two-story building that now houses the cafe was built of brick in 1927. The space now occupied by Olympia Coffee was the site of one of Seattle’s first Sea First Bank branches. (Photo: Hazel Choi)
Two masked Super Six employees make funny faces and poses on camera
Super Six employees bring energy to the day. The restaurant was originally the site of a multipurpose Colombian town hall, including a fire station, police station, jail, library and school, built from 1891 to 1992. Over time, only the police stations have remained here, and the restaurants and cafes are now replacing them. Super Six is ​​one of them. (Photo: Hazel Choi)

Hazel Choi is a journalism student at the University of Washington, preparing to dive into the passionate world of journalism. She seeks to have a deep understanding of our local community and is interested in making the voice of the community heard.

📸 Featured image: Hee Kim (left) and Osa Elaiho (right). Elaiho, artist and director of the Columbia City Gallery, said he knows all the artists in the gallery and the story behind each work. “Once you know the story and the context, you’ll have a better understanding of the work,” Elaiho told Columbia City Gallery. (Photo: Hazel Choi)

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