The Rainier Valley Historical Society's mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the history and heritage of the Rainier Valley and its people, and to promote public involvement in and appreciation of its history and culture.
Our geographic boundaries are from Dearborn Street on the north to the city limits on the south, and from the I-5 freeway to Lake Washington.
• Research, document, and preserve the history of Rainier Valley.
• Develop knowledge and understanding of the multi-ethnic history of the area.
• Foster pride in Rainier Valley’s unique heritage .
• Maintain and add to our permanent archive of oral histories, photographs, documents, and artifacts relating to the Rainier Valley.
Membership is open to anyone, resident or not, with an interest in Rainier Valley’s history.
The Rainier Valley Historical Society's roots go back to 1891, when the families who bought the first lots in Columbia City gathered to celebrate the founding of their community. The "Columbia Pioneers" continued to meet every April for 100 years. During that time they gathered an extensive collection of photographs documenting the early years of Columbia City and the Rainier Valley.
In 1993 the group reorganized and become the Rainier Valley Historical Society. The RVHS inherited the mantle of the Columbia Pioneers, along with their collection of historic photographs, documents, and artifacts. The RVHS has continued to expand the collection, which now includes more than 2500 photographs, thousands of documents, 100+ artifacts, and more than 40 oral history recordings.
Through projects such as Rainier Valley Food Stories, Looking Into Courtland Place, Double Exposures, The Hidden Stream of Columbia City, the Hillman City Time Capsule, and Honored to Serve, we have involved Rainier Valley neighbors in gathering and sharing more stories about our community's unique history.
You are invited to visit our office in Columbia City (3710 S Ferdinand Street). Current open office hours are:
Tuesday, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Friday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Check our voice mail for possible changes to this schedule or leave a message to schedule a special appointment:
There are currently no images in this slideshow.