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  • Hillman City Heritage Bell | RVHS

    Hillman City Heritage Bell Project The Hillman City Heritage Bell project has been nearly five years in the making! In 2019, the Dayspring and Fitch Funeral Home donated a cast iron bell, originally from the 1904 Hillman Methodist Episcopal Church, to the Rainier Valley Historical Society (RVHS). ​ RVHS saw an opportunity to transform this piece of history into a new landmark for the Hillman City Neighborhood. In 2021, they enlisted Cathy Fields, a local mural artist and 50-year Hillman City resident, to paint a mural on the bell. Cathy's work weaves a captivating visual narrative celebrating Rainier Valley's cultural diversity. Her mural showcases indigenous peoples, early pioneers, and notable community members, reflecting Hillman's history as a welcoming home for immigrant populations. ​ Join us in celebrating the official unveiling of this new landmark at the 2024 Hillman City Block Party on August 10th. The event will feature the unveiling ceremony, an indigenous blessing, and a program highlighting the bell's and Hillman City's rich history. The story of the Hillman City Heritage Bell From restoration to celebration learn about the Heritage Bell Project Learn More Celebrate with us! Join us on August 10th for the official unveiling of the bell at the Hillman City Block Party Learn More Meet the artist Get to know Cathy Fields, the bell's artist, and Hillman City local Learn More Restoration timeline and gallery Explore the complete timeline of the restoration process Learn More

  • Newsletters | RVHS

    Newsletters The Rainier Valley Heritage News is a semi-annual publication established in 1993. This newsletter serves as a rich chronicle of historical narratives and community insights, dedicated to preserving the heritage of Rainier Valley. Spring 2024 Fall 2023 Spring 2023 Rainier Valley Roots: The School Garden Movement Fall 2022 The Dunlaps on Lake Washington Spring 2022 Fall 2021 V is for Veterans Spring 2021 Ron Chew's Unforgotten Seattle Fall 2020 Women in isolation at Rainier Beach Crittenton Home Spring 2020 Fall 2019 Spring 2019 From Wilderness to Park Fall 2018 Spring 2018 History of Mt. Baker Fall 2017 40 Years of Cuts, Shaves & Shines! Spring 2017 A Horse, A Cow, Chickens, and Turkeys, Oh My! Fall 2016 Lakewood Pioneer Family Member Honored As Hero Spring 2016 Celebrate RVHS at our annual meeting for members and friends! Fall 2015 Columbia Electric Bakery - From Spark to Flame Spring 2015 The Newspaper Project Fall 2014 Newspaper Project Spring 2014 Remembering the ‘70s Fall 2013 A Lot of Pie at Seattle Summer Streets and Rainier Valley Heritage Parade Spring 2013 Celebrate our 20 year anniversary Fall 2012 Spring 2012 Load More

  • Events | RVHS

    Upcoming Events Stay in the know about upcoming events, meetings, and office hours. For further information, please refer to the details provided under each event listing. If you have any questions, you can contact us via email at office@rainiervalleyhistory.org or by calling (206) 723-1663. Become a Member Help us preserve and celebrate the history of the Rainier Valley. Be a part of our advocacy for local preservation. get involved

  • Oral Histories | RVHS

    Oral Histories We have serval dozen oral histories in our collection. A portion of our catalog are available on our YouTube Channel. The full catalog is available to researchers by appointment. explore our library RVHS Video Play Video Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Copy Link Link Copied Now Playing 01:43:42 Play Video Oral History Alice Yasutake Now Playing 23:43 Play Video RVHS 131st Annual Meeting, 2022 Program: 1995 Heritage Day Slideshow Now Playing 39:55 Play Video Oral History Series: Lavenia Natuna Submit Your Oral History Share your story with us! RVHS welcomes submissions of oral histories from individuals interested in preserving their experiences for future generations. To contribute to our library, fill out our contact form, and we'll reach out to you. contact us

  • Photographs | RVHS

    Photographs The Rainier Valley Historical Society maintains an ever-growing collection of photographs. These images are housed within our main database, PastPerfect, for public exploration and research. Additionally, RVHS offers photo essays and curated gallery selection, King County Snapshots, a collaborative project with the University of Washington and other Washington museums. Search Our Database Search our collection of 2,200+ photographs, articles, and artifacts. search Photo Essays Discover photo essays crafted by the RVHS team and guest writers. discover King County Snapshots Explore a curated collection of 350+ photos in collaboration with King County. explore Need help with a project? Looking for images for your project or need research assistance? Reach out to RVHS—we're here to help! Schedule an appointment or email us with your questions. ​ We also handle photo prints and usage requests via email. Contact us at office@rainiervalleyhistory.org . contact us

  • Meet Our Team | RVHS

    Our Team Rainier Valley Historical Society is guided by our dedicated Board of Directors. Our board members are volunteers who bring expertise in finance, non-profit management, and historic preservation to our organization. They are passionately committed to advancing RVHS's mission and engaging others in the importance of preservation efforts. Board of Directors President Karen O'Brien Secretary Jody Anderson Director Teresa Anderson Director Becky Corpuz Director Nancy Dulaney Director Jardea Kane Vice President Mary Charles Treasurer John DeFranco Director Tim Burdick Director Laura Weiss Day Director David Eskenazi Director Joan Neville Director Ryan Wadleigh Remo Borracchini, Karen O'Brien and Art Oberto at RVHS’s annual founder’s dinner. Committee Chairs Finance & Endowment John DeFranco Memberships Mary Charles Facilities Karen O'Brien Oral History Nancy Dulaney Part-Time Staff Programs & Marketing Katie McClure Collections Alyssa Enders Emeritus Board Members Grover Haynes

  • Days Gone By | RVHS

    Days Gone By Explore a curated compilation of articles penned by RVHS founder, Buzz Anderson, for the South District Journal. Buzz Anderson Mystery Building Identified: It’s Lakewood School The one room Lakewood Grade School located at 48th Ave S and Snoqualmie Street taught only 1st and 2nd graders from 1916 to 1927. RVHS... Buzz Anderson Columbia Hotel: “All You Can Eat For 25 Cents” It was a Sunday in 1906 and the Columbia Hotel’s elegant dining room, with white linen tablecloths and floral centerpieces, was featuring... Buzz Anderson Columbia City's First Pool Hall RVHS photo 1993.001.0032 There is a question as to the date this photograph was taken. Written on the back of this original photo we... Buzz Anderson Frigidaire Week at Grayson & Brown This is one of my favorite photos and I have it pinned on the wall in my home office. It is a nostalgic reminder to me of our family... Buzz Anderson Columbia Theater in the '30s This photo was taken looking northeast from the intersection of Rainier Avenue and Hudson Street. The Columbia Theater was a popular... Buzz Anderson An Interview with Dr. Bill Hutchinson Dr. Bill Hutchinson was a superb surgeon at Swedish Hospital for 40 years. He was touched by the cancer patients he treated, so he... Buzz Anderson Seward Park Peninsula This is a brief history of the Seward Park Peninsula or Bailey Peninsula as it is sometimes called. This illustrated map and article are... Buzz Anderson The Columbia Laundry This photo was taken in 1911, four years after Columbia City and Rainier Valley were annexed by the city of Seattle. The building was... Buzz Anderson Hausler Grocery Part 2 of 2: New Building at Rose Street This is the second of two articles about the Hausler family grocery store. The first article told about their move to Seattle from New... Buzz Anderson Hausler Grocery Part 1 of 2: Grocery Business for Sale - $100 Mr. and Mrs. Hausler bought the inventory and the lease on this building for $100 they didn’t have. He got the money however, by pawning... Buzz Anderson Lakewood Landing: 1902 This is a photo of the Steamer L.T. HAAS about to dock at the Lakewood Boat Landing supposedly located on Lake Washington at the foot of... Buzz Anderson Mr. Hipkins and His Maintenance Car ‘Pa Hip’ was the key man on the streetcar line. This is the shop-built locomotive used as a repair car for maintenance work on the... Buzz Anderson Columbia City’s Favorite Barbers - Circa 1908 The earliest reference we have regarding Columbia City’s barbers, Gardner and LaPorte, is 1907. Their partnership was listed in Carey... Buzz Anderson Street Car #21 There is some question as to the correct number of the streetcar shown in this photo from the archives of our Rainier Valley Historical... Mary Ann Balch Streetcar Mystery Historical Photo Leaves All To Imagination. What were those well-dressed folks doing on that day so long ago? As we enter the new... Buzz Anderson Rainier Valley Investment Co. RVHS Photo 1993.001.0012 This 1908 photo shows the office of the Rainier Valley Investment Co. at 4870 Rainier Avenue. The office was... Buzz Anderson Meet You By The Big Rock The “Big Rock” at 48th Ave. S and S. Ferdinand St. was once the meeting place of Valley Residents. This Photo of the Big Rock, with an... Buzz Anderson Simeon T. Toby's Bank Building RVHS Photo 1993.001.0006 This photo of the Toby building was taken about 1930. It was built by Simeon T. Toby in 1903, on the Southeast... Buzz Anderson Heater Glove Company Columbia City has had its share of manufacturing companies over the years. One of the more noteworthy was the Heater Glove Company,... Buzz Anderson The Genesee Dinky What put the car in the ditch? This photo depicts the Genesee Streetcar on a day when it was not going anywhere, at least not for a... 1 2 3

  • Our History | RVHS

    Rainier Valley Historical Society's roots go back to 1891, when the families who bought the first lots in Columbia City gathered to celebrate the founding of their community. The "Columbia Pioneers" continued to meet every April for 100 years. During that time they gathered an extensive collection of photographs documenting the early years of Columbia City and Rainier Valley. In 1993 the group reorganized and became Rainier Valley Historical Society. RVHS inherited the mantle of the Columbia Pioneers, along with their collection of historic photographs, documents, and artifacts. RVHS has continued to expand their archives, which now includes more than 30,000 photographs, documents, artifacts, and oral histories. Through projects such as Dismantling Racism Series, Images of America: Rainier Valley, Rainier Valley Food Stories, Looking Into Courtland Place, Double Exposures, Hidden Stream of Columbia City, Hillman City Time Capsule, and Honored to Serve, we have involved Rainier Valley neighbors in gathering and sharing more stories about our community's unique history. Learn more about The Rainier Valley See more articles The Story of the Hillman City Heritage Bell Hillman City Heritage Bell Timeline & Photo Gallery Unveiling of the Hillman Heritage Bell Meet Cathy Fields - The Artist Behind the Hillman City Heritage Bell Become a Member Help us preserve and celebrate the history of the Rainier Valley. Be a part of our advocacy for local preservation. get involved

  • Rainier Valley Historical Society | Rainier Valley History

    WELCOME TO RAINIER VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY Learn More Our Mission To collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the history and heritage of Rainier Valley and its community and to educate and promote public involvement in, and appreciation of, its history and culture. Featured Articles See more articles Walk Through History The Rainier Valley Historical Society is delighted to introduce a historic walking tour of the Columbia City Landmark District. This immersive experience guides participants through 26 significant sites within the district, providing captivating insights through historical photos and detailed information about each location. LEARN MORE Our Archives Learn more about our archives Articles & Publications Photographs Newsletters Oral Histories Become a Member Help us preserve and celebrate the history of the Rainier Valley. Be a part of our advocacy for local preservation. support

  • Walking Tours | RVHS

    Walk through history with us The Rainier Valley Historical Society is delighted to introduce a historic walking tour of the Columbia City Landmark District. This immersive experience guides participants through 26 significant sites within the district, providing captivating insights through historical photos and detailed information about each location. To enhance your exploration, utilize the interactive digital map provided below for seamless navigation. Alternatively, you may download and print a copy of the map for your convenience. printable map digital map

  • Our Mission | RVHS

    Our Mission To collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the history and heritage of Rainier Valley and its community and to educate and promote public involvement in, and appreciation of, its history and culture. Our Goals 01. Research, document, and preserve the history of Rainier Valley. 03. Develop knowledge and understanding of the multi-ethnic history of the area. 02. Foster pride in Rainier Valley’s unique heritage. 04. Maintain and add to our permanent archive of oral histories, photographs, documents, and artifacts relating to the Rainier Valley. Land Acknowledgement: ​Rainier Valley Historical Society acknowledges the land our mission statement refers to as Rainier Valley is the original home of the Duwamish and Coast Salish peoples. We recognize the reverberations of colonialism past and present and the painful history of forced removal of these groups. Through this acknowledgment, we hope to honor and respect the Indigenous peoples who were, and still are connected to and are stewards of this land. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement Rainier Valley Historical Society is dedicated to sharing the stories and histories of the many types of community that make the larger Rainier Valley community a place of diversity and differences. Become a Member Help us preserve and celebrate the history of the Rainier Valley. Be a part of our advocacy for local preservation. get involved

  • Member Page | RVHS

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