Wedged between South Lake Union and Seattle’s downtown area, Cascade is a historic neighbourhood that centres around the Cascade Playground. It is renowned for its historic architecture, including late 19th century churches and heritage-listed laundry warehouses.
The Cascade School was one of the area’s first buildings, and after being demolished, its playground was transformed into Cascade Playground, a large community park in the neighbourhood’s heart. It’s a picturesque spot to wander and soak up the surrounding architecture, including the multi-ethnic church of the St Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral which was first founded in 1895 and the Immanuel Lutheran Church which dates to 1907. Cascade is also home to numerous laundry warehouses that once played a pivotal role in Seattle’s labour rights history and the fight for an 8-hour day, with the New Richmond Laundry Building, a City of Seattle Landmark, recently transformed into a chic apartment complex, with its historic facade retained. While not a significant shopping hub, Cascade is known for the outdoor adventure stores situated within its bounds, including the flagship store for REI, together with a scattering of bars and eateries.
Cascade is well served by public buses which stop along Fairview Avenue to the west and Eastlake Avenue on its eastern edge. The neighbourhood is very compact and easily explored on foot, as well as being within walking distance to many of Seattle’s downtown attractions.
Cascade emerged as one of Seattle’s first industrial, blue-collar neighbourhoods in the late 19th century, and was largely settled by Russians, Swedes, Norwegians and Greeks. It was named for the Cascade School which opened in 1894, with sawmills, boatyards and boarding houses gradually established in its surrounds.