Fort Lawton Landmark District

Fort Lawton originally occupied much of Seattle's Magnolia Bluff, which offers a commanding view of the entrance to Elliott Bay and Puget Sound.

Fort Lawton originally occupied much of Seattle's Magnolia Bluff, which offers a commanding view of the entrance to Elliott Bay and Puget Sound. The bluff itself was named by Lt. George Davidson in 1857 during a U.S. Coastal Survey on the mistaken identification of its red-barked madrona trees as magnolias.

In 1896, the Secretary of War selected the site for construction of an artillery battery intended to defend Seattle and the south Sound from naval attack. The following year, local citizens and governments donated 703 acres land to the United States Army for the installation.

The Army officially named Fort Lawton in 1900 to honor Major General Henry Ware Lawton, a veteran of Civil War, Indian, and Spanish-American campaigns who had died in the Philippines the previous year. The base was converted to infantry use in 1902, and landscape architect John C. Olmsted prepared a new master plan in 1910 for housing officers and enlisted men.

The fort saw active duty as a staging center and prisoner of war camp during World War II, and was equipped with anti-aircraft missiles and radar in the 1950s. After rejecting the site for a proposed anti-ballistic missile defense system in 1968, the Army decided to surplus most of the base and offered 534 acres to the City of Seattle for park use under a new law sponsored by U.S. Senator Henry M. Jackson.

Native American tribes asserted treaty rights to the original land but settled with the city for a portion as the site for Daybreak Star Center (completed in 1977). In 1973, Senator Jackson dedicated the tract as Discovery Park in honor of the British sloop HMS Discovery commanded by Captain George Vancouver during the first European exploration of Puget Sound in 1792.

The city decided to preserve most of the park as open space and nature reserves in 1974, and the appropriate intensity of public use remains a subject of debate. The best preserved collection of early Fort Lawton buildings was declared a landmark district in 1988.

Meeting Agendas, Materials and Minutes

June 7, 2023 Agenda

June 2, 2023 ARC Meeting Cancelled

May 17, 2023 Agenda

May 12, 2023 ARC Meeting Cancelled

May 3, 2023 Agenda

April 28, 2023 ARC Agenda

Battelle-Talaris: Presentation

Contental Hotel: Presentation

April 19, 2023 Agenda

April 14, 2023 ARC Agenda

April 5, 2023 Agenda

March 31, 2023 ARC Agenda

March 15, 2023 Agenda

March 10, 2023 ARC Agenda  

March 1, 2023 Agenda  / Minutes

February 24, 2023 ARC Agenda

February 15, 2023 Agenda  / Minutes

February 10, 2023 ARC Agenda

February 1, 2023 Agenda  / Minutes

January 27, 2023 ARC Agenda

January 18, 2023 Agenda / Minutes

January 4, 2023 Agenda / Minutes

Meeting Materials Archives

Certificate of Approval must be issued before changes can be made to individually designated City Landmarks or to properties within the City's eight historic districts

Refer to the District Guidelines and other relevant resources for information regarding design standards and other considerations.

Please consult the Guide to Acing the Certificate of Approval Process before starting the online application process. For help with the online submittal, watch this How-To video.

The following changes require that the Board issue a Certificate of Approval before the City will issue any permits:

  • Any change to the outside of any building or structure.
  • Any changes to the landscape.
  • Any change to an interior that affects the exterior.
  • New addition, construction, and/or remodel.
  • Any change in a public right-of-way or other public space.
  • Demolition of any building or structure.
  • Exterior painting

The Board must determine that the alterations are consistent with Seattle Municipal Code for Fort Lawton, District Guidelines and the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation in order to issue the Certificate of Approval. 

Neighborhoods

Jenifer Chao, Interim Director
Address: 600 4th Avenue, 4th Floor, Seattle, WA , 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94649, Seattle, WA, 98124-4649
Phone: (206) 684-0464
Fax: (206) 233-5142
seattleneighborhoods@seattle.gov

Newsletter Updates

Subscribe

Sign up for the latest updates from Neighborhoods

Seattle Department of Neighborhoods provides resources and opportunities for community members to build strong communities and improve their quality of life.