Tomorrow, Scotland will vote on whether or not to declare itself independent from the United Kingdom. If they vote yes, it will sever Scotland from its fellow Great Britain neighbors and allow them to exist solely as their own entity, something they haven't done since the Tender of Union way back in 1652.
The big vote got us thinking about Seattle, where, between 1905 and 1910, the city annexed six neighboring towns, doubling its size and helping to create the map we know today. Many of those towns are now known simply as neighborhoods and others as regions. All of which feel vital and irreplaceable. It makes you wonder, though, what if any of them decided to secede today?
At the turn of the century, a map of Seattle basically included everything from Mount Baker north to Lake Union as well as Wallingford, Fremont and Green Lake. It wasn't until around 1907 when six towns (Ballard, Columbia, Ravenna, Southeast Seattle, South Park, and West Seattle) joined in. The big reasons for annexation were the concerns of a growing population and public needs that come with that as well as a fading rural way of life that was giving way for the city to come. Columbia was getting sick and tired of passing ordinances such as "prohibiting stock from running at large."
North Seattle's Laurelhurst (1910) and South Seattle's Georgetown (incorporated in 1904, annexed in 1910) filled in some big gaps. The northern boundary of 85th Street was expanded in later years to 145th Street after annexations of more North Seattle neighborhoods. Various smaller annexations have happened since, including Central Heights in 1986 and two unincorporated areas along the Duwamish Waterway earlier this year. Check out the full annexation list here.
No neighborhood has ever joined Seattle and then left, and the idea seems ludicrous at this point, but it's an issue that has cropped up over the years. Columbia City might have the word city in their name but they're doing just fine as a neighborhood amongst the rest. However, there are a couple places where annexation wasn't an easy answer.
In Ballard, the initial idea of annexation was a divisive one. The annexation vote even failed the first time. These days no one is running around Ballard demanding emancipation but it should be no surprise the neighborhood continues to have a distinct reputation and character.
Likewise, West Seattle put up a bit of a fight until finally giving in to annexation. A little bit removed from the center of the city and a little bit by itself on that peninsula, the sentiment of whether or not their voice is heard comes up often. Not enough for anyone to serious consider secession, though.
So, no...it's unlikely any Seattle neighborhood will ever pull a Scotland and attempt to strike out on their own. At least, not unless they suddenly find a ton of oil underneath Fremont. In that case, say hello to The People's Republic of Fremont!
· Annexed Cities [Seattle.gov]
· Tender of Union [Wikipedia]
· Should West Seattle have its own City Councilmember? [WSB]
· Seattle City Council approves Duwamish-area annexation [ST]
· Seattle Annexation List [Seattle.gov]
Image: Seattle Municipal Archives