Cascade

Cascade


Cascade is a neighborhood with a lot of history, but which is quickly fading further into the past as it is absorbed by nearby South Lake Union. Cascade’s borders have been shrinking for years as other neighborhoods expanded into its space. The building of Interstate 5 was the most significant, giving Cascade a hard border to the east, cutting it off from Capitol Hill. To the north is Eastlake and to the south is downtown. It is the neighbor to the west, South Lake Union that has done much of the encroaching—in fact many people would say that Cascade is but a sub-set of South Lake Union.

Historically, however, Cascade stood on its own two feet. Once a big player in the industrial boom surrounding Lake Union, Cascade was home to a Ford assembly plant, shipbuilding facilities and its biggest industry, laundry. A few of the laundry buildings have been preserved as historic landmarks in the area. The historic significance of the area is apparent when looking at the large number of designated historic sites in the area, including the Russian church, with its striking architecture popping out of the current landscape of Cascade.

Today’s Cascade is a residential area, with apartment buildings and condominium complexes sprouting like weeds. It is heavily new construction; with the occasional protest from preservationist groups as older buildings are torn down to make way for new ones. The building of the neighborhood’s biggest tourist attraction ran into just such a fuss. The REI flagship store is on the northern edge of Cascade, its rock wall towering over Interstate 5. It brought much needed commerce and tourism to the area, but there was much to-do about the buildings that were torn down to put it up. In other parts of the neighborhood, historic buildings are repurposed to house new buildings, such as the use of Seattle City Light’s Hydro House as Zymogenetics headquarters.




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