About Quizzes

First Hill

In the 1880s, many affluent citizens moved out of Seattle's hectic downtown to build large, expensive residences in the First Hill neighborhood. First Hill is named for the hill on which it is located. The hill, in turn, named for being the first hill one encounters traveling east from downtown Seattle toward Lake Washington. First Hill rose to popularity in the 1890s as a location close enough to downtown for convenience, but far enough out to offer a sense of retreat for the wealthier residents of Seattle. By 1900, they said that the residents constituted a "roll call of Seattle's financial muscle." The appeal of the area was clear, it offered an easy trip downtown and a picturesque view of the city, Puget Sound, and the distant Olympic Mountain range. Among the elite to live on First Hill at that time were local judge Cornelius Hanford, successful meatpacker Charles Frye, whose private art collection is now open to the public at First Hill's Frye Art Museum, contractor Morgan Carkeek, and William Boeing, founder of the Boeing Company. Noted photographer Imogen Cunningham and her husband Roi Partridge lived on First Hill in a boarding house in the 1910s until the residents of the house were evicted and the property converted into a hospital. More recently, local philanthropist and businessperson Patsy Collins resided in a First Hill condominium. The first official King County Courthouse was built on First Hill in 1889-1890. The steep climb to the courthouse from downtown legal offices caused such frequent and enthusiastic vocal complaints that Seattle lawyers nicknamed the area "Profanity Hill." The courthouse, constructed on the corner of 7th Avenue and Alder Street, was quickly outgrown, which, along with the loud petulant outbursts of local attorneys, led the county to move the courthouse off First Hill, in 1916. The hill is also known as "Pill Hill" due to being the current home of three major health care facilities. First Hill has been home to Seattle University, since 1898. Also located on the hill are Northwest School and Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, two highly regarded private schools, and the Catholic O'Dea High School, as well as several churches that have become city landmarks - Trinity Parish Church, St. James Cathedral, and Seattle First Baptist Church.