Youngstown History

Youngstown is the historic and current name of the micro-neighborhood where the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center is located. This history is honored by the Youngstown School, which was at the heart of the community for decades, and by the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center today.

A little history: In the late 1800’s John Longfellow farmed the cove in the area that is now North Delridge, cutting the existing trees and planting crops. The trout creek the Duwamish called to-AH-wee was renamed Longfellow Creek. Land developers established the small settlement of Humphry where trees had been cut.

In 1905 William Pigott and Judge E.M. Wilson opened the Seattle Steel Company, the plant which is now NUCOR. Seattle’s business leaders talked of a new industrial era, and a special train carried 500 of Seattle’s leading citizens out to the mill for an opening reception. The company began by employing 140 employees. Workers came from all near and far to work at the mill (including Tacoma, Portland, St Louis, England, Italy).

After settling in the new community they lived in rooming houses or homes that the company provided, or built new homes for their families in the neighborhood. Just after the opening of the steel mill, the settlement of Humphry was renamed Youngstown – on July 19, 1905 in honor of the steel town in Ohio.

In 1907 Youngstown was annexed to Seattle. The name remains the identity of the micro-neighborhood where the development is located, yet is rarely used in the community.  As families moved in, Youngstown needed a school. In 1906 the steel mill provided a room that could function as a school and 70 children attended on the first day. The brick Youngstown School was built in 1917. In 1939 it was renamed Cooper after Frank B Cooper (Superintendent of Seattle Schools in the early 1900’s) who was well known for his progressive approach to education known as “The Seattle Way.”

Thelma Dewitty, teacher at the old Cooper school and namesake of Youngstown’s DeWitty Theatre

For over 70 years the Youngstown/Cooper School provided education for the children of the North Delridge neighborhood. For generations, the Youngstown School/Cooper School has been at the heart of the neighborhood and has always been a symbol of hard work and success. Today the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and is a vibrant community focused on the arts, youth and sustainable initiatives.