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Our Historical Timeline

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The Duwamish are the host indigenous tribe of the Seattle area dating their presence back to the last Ice Age. Chief Si'ahl emphasized ecological citizenship and respect for the land of his people. The Duwamish tribe, now made of roughly 600 members, continues to honor Chief Si'ahl in their dedication to the preservation of their peoples' rich history on this land, promoting "social, cultural and economic survival of the Duwamish tribe." The Duwamish tribe has not been granted federal recognition, and rely on their nonprofit organization, Duwamish Tribal Services, to support their community.

To support the Duwamish, contact the Honorable Cecile Hanson at Duwamish Tribal Services, chair of the Duwamish tribe and great-great grandniece of Chief Si'ahl, send a letter to your representative, learn more about the Duwamish culture, and make rent payments to the Duwamish.


"A small community developed on the north shore of Portage Bay. The area, known as Brooklyn, was annexed into the City of Seattle in 1881 and linked to Capitol Hill by the Latona Bridge in 1892. The children of the sparsely settled neighborhood attended the Latona School. Growing enrollment at the University of Washington, then situated in downtown Seattle, required the construction of a larger campus, and a 600-acre site in Brooklyn was settled. Construction began in 1894. At the turn of the century, the citizens of Brooklyn sought to convince the Seattle School District that their community needed its own school."


Featured in Building for Learning, Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000


University Heights

DEC 8, 1902

University Heights School is built.


University Heights Elementary School opens. Architects Charles Bebb and Louis Mendel. 


Construction begins on a 13-room addition, opened in 1908.


Enrollment peaks at over 900 students.


800+ students
in attendance of UHeights Elementary.


Class photo of students on the steps of University Heights.


Alaska-Yukon-Pacific (AYP) exposition, 500+ students attend University Heights School.


The Auditorium is constructed. 7th and 8th graders leave to attend John Marshall Junior High School, decreasing enrollment.


Enrollment begins to decline.


A program for deaf children begins at University Heights.



Showing the start of a multi-ethnic curriculum.



400 students in attendance.


The University Heights School, is purchased from the Seattle School District with State of Washington, King County, City of Seattle and UHeights funds with the help of Speaker Frank Chopp of the Washington State House of Representatives and our community members.

University Heights Center operates as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to arts and community. The beautiful facility that once house the elementary school is now home to a dozen resident organizations including six schools and afterschool programs. We continue to grow community programs that address our City's most pressing needs.


UHeights now

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Individualized education program launched to promote progress for each child's learning.


University Heights Alternative Program, an alternative school program, launched. This program was centered around ideals of teaching students to value “curiosity, exploration, and responsibility in an open environment” with emphasis on education in small groups.  

University Heights
is entered into consideration for closure. Students, faculty, parents and additional protesters create a coalition to save the school, and formed circle around the building chanting “Be cool, save our school.”



School is closed by the district due to low enrollment.

University Heights Center for the Community Association is established by activists who protested the school's initial closure.



New Playground is built with the support of Delta Air Lines.


University Heights is registered as a National Heritage Site by the US Department of the Interior.


Seismic Retrofit and renovation of grounds with support from Building for Communities (WA State) and 4Culture funds.

University Heights Plaza opens with support of the City of Seattle. 



The Auditorium is renovated with City of Seattle, 4Culture, and Lucky Seven Foundation.

UHeights repairs roof, parapets, and cornices through major support from Heritage Capital Project Fund, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, and The Norcliffe Foundation.



Wing Luke  attends kindergarten through third grade at University Heights Elementary School.

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