While never a center of Native American life, Queen Anne has been home to white settlers since 1853 when David T. & Louisa Boren Denny built a cabin on a 320-acre claim in what is now Lower Queen Anne. The area soon became a popular spot for the city’s elite to build their mansions.
The Queen Anne name is derived from the 1880’s when many homes owned by wealthy residents were constructed in the ornate “Queen Anne” style, which included a dominant front-facing gable, overhanging eaves; round, square or polygon shaped towers and a wrap-around porch that covered part or all of the front facade. Several of these homes still exist.
Beginning in 1903, Seattle embarked on one of the most remarkable civil engineering projects in the region’s history when it leveled areas of Lower Queen Anne with hydraulic water cannons to wash the soil into Elliott Bay. The 25-year process created what is now known as the Denny Regrade and leveled various areas of Seattle by removing 6 million cubic yards of soil.
In 1960, Lower Queen Anne would be forever changed again by construction of Century 21, the Seattle World’s Fair, which brought Seattle world attention in 1962 and such icons as the Space Needle.
Today, 50 years after the World’s Fair, Queen Anne remains a bustling, evolving community.