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  • Ellen Mirro

Ravenna-Cowen North is a Designated Historic District!

Washington State’s newest historic district is Ravenna-Cowen North in Seattle! This historic district, roughly bounded by NE 65th Street on the north, Ravenna ravine on the east, Ravenna and Cowen Parks on the south, and 12th Avenue NE on the west, was unanimously approved by the WA Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (ACHP) on June 29, 2018. The district has been added to the Washington Heritage Register, which includes historic and cultural properties that have been recognized for their unique contributions to Washington’s heritage. The ACHP also unanimously approved recommending the district for listing on the National Register. The WA Department of Archaeology and Historic preservation (DAHP) will send this request and documentation to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington DC, and we’ll provide another update after that.

The Ravenna-Cowen North Historic district includes 443 homes, most constructed prior to the early 1930s, with a districtwide average construction date of contributing resources of 1918. This district exhibits a special character, scale and setting that represents a period of population growth and housebuilding resulting from the excitement generated by the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition at the State University (now the University of Washington main campus) grounds in 1909 and lasting through the devastating economic Great Depression of the late 1920s and 1930s. Ravenna-Cowen North Historic District’s period of significance begins in 1906, with the anticipation of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, and runs to the early 1930s, with only a handful of homes built from the 1940s through the 1960s.

Ravenna-Cowen North Historic District exhibits the range of residential architectural styles prevalent during one of Seattle’s greatest population growth periods. Styles mainly include Craftsman, Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival styles; many designs were taken directly from pattern books and kit home catalogs dating from the early 1900s to the 1930s. Most of the district’s residences are relatively modest. The existing cohesive neighborhood conveys a unique feeling in place and time.

The application for historic designation was prepared by the Friends of Ravenna-Cowen, an all-volunteer 501c3 non-profit organization whose purpose is “To preserve and protect the heritage of the Ravenna-Cowen neighborhood as a community resource for all.” Larry and Lani Johnson, of The Johnson Partnership, were part of the hardworking team, and Larry was the lead Historian for the effort. Larry & Lani attended the June 29 ACHP meeting on behalf of the Friends of Ravenna-Cowen.


PS – Larry & I have collectively contributed more than 900 pro bono hours to this project in 2018!! The entire FORC team put in a lot of time. Steve Campbell prepared the maps.

The Ravenna Trolley in 1895

This craftsman bungalow is typical of the style and quality throughout the district.

This map shows the district boundaries and the individual properties within.

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