The former town of South Park has been part of Seattle since it was annexed in 1907. Throughout its history, people who have called South Park their home, from farmers to blue-collar workers, have come from very diverse backgrounds. Historically, South Park was a farming community that supplied a large portion of the produce sold at Pike Place Market, in downtown Seattle. It evolved into a mostly working-class neighborhood, with many residents working in nearby industrial jobs.The neighborhood also has a long history of community activism, counting among its residents notable Chicano activist Roberto Maestas.
The history of the South Park neighborhood tells a microcosm of the Seattle story. Periods of expansion and economic splendour are countered by years of struggle and recession. Most of the ups and downs of the neighborhood are tied to the fate of the nearby industries, including shipbuilding and aircraft manufacturing. The Boeing Airplane Co. established just north of South Park in the early 20th century, becoming an employer to many South Park residents. In turn, Boeing’s employees were a secure clientele to local businesses. South Park was severely impacted in the early 2010s when the South Park bridge over the Duwamish River was closed for renovation, isolating local businesses. Many of those were owned and/or operated by Latino families.
Today, South Park is a vibrant, multicultural community. Colorful murals attest to the growing local art scene. Its main streets are alive with multiple businesses that showcase the diversity of its residents.