The Junction: West Seattle’s Downtown for over 100 Years
Settlers landed on the shores of West Seattle in 1851 making it the oldest neighborhood in Seattle (it is also the largest). West Seattle’s downtown and bustling center of activity, excitement and culture, is The Junction.
The Junction got its name from two streetcar lines which crossed at the junction of California and Alaska streets in 1907, and Downtown West Seattle was born. In just a couple of years, The Junction grew into a destination-worthy business district—with a small town friendliness and neighborhood charm that’s still alive and thriving in it’s 275 area businesses today.
And though the streetcar made its last stop in 1940, The Junction pushed full steam ahead to remain West Seattle’s town center. Buses have taken the place of streetcars and the “walk all ways” foot-friendly pedestrian crossing system was established in 1952—becoming a Junction icon where people from all walks of life can walk all ways, together as neighbors.
This 1925 photo shows where streetcars made their turns. Two streetcar lines connected at California and Alaska, forming a “junction,” giving the area its name. Streetcars were a major mode of mass transit in the early 1900s, but there was also a 5-cent ferry that transported people between West Seattle and Downtown Seattle.
The Murals – Painting a Picture of West Seattle’s Past
Spearheaded by Earl Cruzen as a vision of many long time West Seattle residents, The Murals of West Seattle were created to capture the historical pieces of West Seattle’s past. Funded by a partnership between the West Seattle Junction Association, the City of Seattle’s Neighborhood Grants Program, and many local businesses, The Murals employed gifted artists to retell 11 stories of West Seattle’s history and the project won a national Neighborhood of the Year Award from Neighborhoods, USA in 1992.
Enjoy our Murals:
1. West Seattle Ferries
2. The Junction
3. Midnight call
4. Mosquito Boat Land
5. The First Duwamish Bridge
6. Morgan Street Market
7. Alki in the Twenties
8. Tuesday’s Bank Day
9. The Hi-Yu Parade
10. The Old Mud Hole
11. Press Day