South Seattle N’hood Spotlight: 10 Mount Baker Highlights

South Seattle N’hood Spotlight: 10 Mount Baker Highlights

Welcome to Mount Baker!

The Mount Baker neighborhood in southeast Seattle is known for its classic Craftsman-style homes set back from sweeping boulevards lined with majestic old trees. Its name comes from the view of Whatcom County’s Mount Baker that can be seen by looking north over Lake Washington.

The tony community—nestled along the shores of Lake Washington to the east—is bounded by Interstate 90 and Leschi to the north, Rainier Valley to the west, and Columbia City to the south.

The neighborhood got its start in 1905, when developer J.C. Hunter purchased 130 acres of sawmills in the area, and began transforming it into one of Seattle’s best neighborhoods. He hired the now-famous Olmsted Brothers—landscape architects from Massachusetts who designed Seattle’s verdant park system.

Fast forward more than 100 years, and after launching in 2009, light rail now carries more than 63,500 riders throughout Seattle every day, with Mount Baker one of five southeast Seattle stops.

The neighborhood boasts not one but two charming business districts with many of the small businesses owned by neighborhood residents.

Speaking of neighborhood businesses, have you ever wondered why my office, Windermere Mount Baker Real Estate isn’t actually in the Mount Baker neighborhood, but adjacent community Lakewood/Seward Park? Look for that question to be answered in next month’s Neighborhood Spotlight on Lakewood/Seward Park to be posted soon.

Top 10 Neighborhood Highlights:

1. Mount Baker Community Club—Established in 1909, the Mount Baker Community Club is a neighborhood gem. The non-profit, volunteer-run organization hosts fun events and celebrations all year long, including a neighborhood yard sale and community potluck. There are no membership dues, and everyone who lives, works or goes to school in Mount Baker is a member. The community club also publishes a quarterly newsletter with community news, events and historical interest stories. The Mount Baker View is delivered free to approximately 5,000 neighborhood households.

2. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund—The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund was created in Mount Baker in 1985 as a neighborhood effort to honor the work and dreams of Dr. King, awarding more than 20 scholarships totaling more than $90,000. While funds originally were designated for Mount Baker residents, the boundaries have been expanded in order to find enough deserving applicants. The fund seeks out and gives highest consideration to young people who show financial need, have overcome obstacles, have worked to improve their communities and who might be overlooked by traditional scholarships.

The Christmas Ships at Mount Baker Beach. Photo/Mount Baker Community Club

3. Christmas Ships Holiday CelebrationEvery holiday season, Mount Baker Beach is one of the stops for the Argosy Christmas Ships Parade. The Community Club builds a bonfire on the beach to greet the ships when they arrive. After the ships leave the community gathers at the Clubhouse, following the trail of beautiful luminaries up the hill, for a cookie potluck, carols and a visit from Santa Claus.

4. Day in the Park Festival—This free, one-day event is a gift to the community from Mount Baker Community Club. Usually features a kid’s parade, neighborhood art fair, field games, an enormous park treasure hunt and obstacle course, live music, bouncy houses, community talent show and more.

5. Home Tour & Arts Fair—The Mount Baker Home Tour and accompanying Art & Craft Fair is one of the neighborhood’s most popular and long-running programs. The owners of some of Mount Baker’s most beautiful and historic homes will generously open their doors, and allow the community to view the homes, their breathtaking period details, and elegant grounds.

Photo/Cory Parris Photography

6. Mount Baker Park Presbyterian Church—Mount Baker Park Presbyterian Church—located at 3201 Hunter Boulevard South—was built in 1925, and in 2016, it was named a new City of Seattle landmark, joining more than 400 other landmarks throughout the city that represent a rich cultural and architectural heritage. The building was designed by Albertson, Richardson & Wilson.

7. Seafair—A Pacific Northwest tradition since 1950, Seafair Weekend is the culmination of the Seafair Festival. With hydroplane races on Lake Washington, and the Blue Angels performing aerial acrobatics overhead, the neighborhood calm is replaced by thousands of party-goers for three days each year, leaving Mount Baker neighbors deeply divided over the annual event. Each year, half of them reportedly leave town while the other half break out the beer and the hot dogs and host huge viewing parties.

8. Mount Baker Rowing & Sailing Center—Officially dedicated on June 15, 1985, Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center at Stan Sayers Park offers classes and programs in rowing, sailing, kayaking and windsurfing for all ages, abilities and skill levels.

Everyone loves Bicycle Sundays.

9. Lake Washington Boulevard—In Mount Baker, Lake Washington Boulevard and trail connects several parks along the waterfront, including Colman Park, Mount Baker Park, Sayers Memorial Park, and Genesee Park. Swimming, boating, and kayaking opportunities abound. The road is also home to Bicycle Sundays—one of South Seattle’s most beloved traditions—when Lake Washington Boulevard between Mount Baker Beach Park and Seward Park is closed to motorized traffic from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on 14 different Sundays every spring and summer.

10. Mount Baker Neighborhood Center for the Arts—An inclusive art center in South Seattle that brings together people of all abilities to celebrate art. MBNCA provides opportunities for artists at all levels, with special focus on creating an inclusive gallery experience, including emerging and underrepresented artists, artists with disabilities, and artists from under-served communities.

UPCOMING EVENT: The Function in the Junction—a free neighborhood event that celebrates the community through a mix of food, music, and art—is planned for 11:30 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. at Art Space Mt Baker Lofts (2915 Rainier Avenue South). The festival is presented by the Mount Baker Hub Business Association and will feature:

  • Local Food — “The Taste of Mt. Baker,” featuring local food vendors including That Brown Girl Cooks!
  • Music and Performance — showcasing the amazing stage under the Mount Baker Link Station
  • Beer Garden — adults can enjoy the performances in a gathering area sponsored by Pike Brewing Company
  • Arts and Artists — a marketplace for local artists to show & sell their works

This article has been brought to you by Serena Heslop, Special Agent with Windermere Mount Baker. Featured Photo: Annual Day in the Park in Mount Baker. Photo/GO: South Seattle


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