Youngstown History

The Youngstown Cultural Arts Center building, over 100-years-old, is rooted in West Seattle's rich history. The name Youngstown honors the micro-neighborhood of Delridge and pays homage to our community's old Youngstown School.

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

Early 1900s
In 1905 William Pigott and Judge E.M. Wilson opened the Seattle Steel Company, the plant which is now NUCOR. 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).

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. 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.

In 1907 Youngstown was annexed to Seattle.The brick Youngstown School was built in 1917 to accommodate Youngstown's growing population.

In 1939 the brick Youngstown School was renamed the Cooper School after Frank B Cooper, former Superintendent of Seattle Schools,  who was well known for his progressive approach to education known as “The Seattle Way.” In 1947 Thelma Dewitty was hired to teach at the Youngstown School, becoming the first black teacher hired by Seattle Public Schools.

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. The building has been at the heart of the neighborhood for generations and has always been a symbol of hard work and success. Today the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, opened in 2006, is a vibrant community focused on the arts, youth empowerment and sustainable initiatives.