The Roosevelt Neighborhood is a diverse, eclectic, socially-active community that serves as a transportation and commercial hub for Northeast Seattle. Through thoughtful planning, Roosevelt successfully integrates diverse housing and employment options, mass transit, thriving commercial activity, and open space to create a livable and sustainable neighborhood.
In 1891, Seattle annexed the area that later became the Roosevelt neighborhood, and in 1906 developer Charles Cowen donated eight acres of the ravine to the city to form Cowen Park. The 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition at the UW campus helped develop the area further, but at the time 10th Avenue (later Roosevelt Way) was still an unpaved country road. When Theodore Roosevelt died, citizens fondly remembered his Seattle visits: the neighborhood high school was named in his memory, and 10th Ave became Roosevelt Way. A naming contest in 1927 made the “Roosevelt Neighborhood” name official.
Still the nation’s youngest president, “Teddy” Roosevelt is noted today for his combination of rugged cowboy persona and progressive policies. As an early proponent of the conservation movement, he protected 230 million acres of land and developed the national parks system. Wanting a more progressive party to fight for social and economic justice, he formed the Bull Moose Party in 1912 – named when Roosevelt declared during a speech that “It takes more than that to kill a bull moose.” just minutes after being wounded in an assassination attempt.
The neighborhood continued to grow and in 1928, Sears, Roebuck & Co. opened a store in the bustling commercial district on 65th St. In business for more than 50 years, it is now the Roosevelt Square shopping center. At the end of the century,the neighborhood included an institute of Chinese medicine, practitioners of meditation, reflexology, acupuncture, and esoteric bookstores. Some have called it the “metaphysical belt” of the city. Perhaps, in the 21st century, the neighborhood will be known for the Light Rail station and the associated developments that result from it.
The neighborhood boundaries are I-5 on the West, 15th Ave NE on the East, Ravenna Blvd. NE on the South, and Lake City Way from I-5 to 15th Ave NE on the North.*This history was compiled using articles from historylink.org and theodoreroosevelt.org.