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Much of the neighborhood’s history is measured by its namesake, Northgate Mall, which opened in the spring of 1950. At the time, the area was outside Seattle, a semi-rural area of scattered homes, large lots, greenhouses and small farms. Pio- neers Arthur and David Denny lived in the area, and in 1870 Arthur bought the land that included what are now the sites of the mall and North Seattle Community College.

What transformed the neighborhood later, according to historian Mimi Sheridan, was the then-unusual practice of assembling small properties into larger ones and creating larger developments. The mall was touted as the first regional shopping center in the country.

Other Northgate developments were largely auto-oriented. Seattle has designated the neighborhood one of five “urban centers,” where big chunks of growth are to be focused. At the same time, the neighborhood is trying to establish a new identity. To enhance the civic presence, the city has recently built a new library branch, community center and park.

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