Sign In

- Or use -
Forgot Password Create Account
This item has been sold, but you can enter your email address to be notified if another example becomes available.

Explicit Racial Segregation in the Pacific Northwest. "Innis Arden A Restricted Residential Community".

Interesting Midcentury promotional map for the community of Innis Arden, just north of Seattle, Washington. The map was published in 1950 to promote Innis Arden, a quintessential Postwar suburban development. On the front of the map is a straightforward cadastral map, with the usual cul-de-sac layout and small illustrations of tract housing. The edges of the map are illustrated with cartoons of fishers and boaters, and photos of the local scenery.

The back of the map is the really interesting part. In addition to the colored photographs of model houses, there is an extensive enumeration of "Protective Restrictions" of the three Innis Arden communities. Among these restrictions are typical limits to building height, fences, land use, the keeping of livestock, etc. However, the map is unusual in its explicit statement of the racial segregation of the community, which it spells out as follows:

RACIAL RESTRICTIONS. No property in said addition shall at any time be sold, conveyed, rented or leased in whole or in part to any person or persons not of the White or Caucasian race. No person other than one of the White or Caucasian race shall be permitted to occupy any property in said addition or portion thereof or building thereon except a domestic servant actually employed by a person of the White or Caucasian race where the latter is an occupant of such property.

Racially restrictive covenants proliferated in the United States after the Second World War, with some estimates putting the number of restricted developments as high as 90% of those that were planned in the Early Postwar Period. Though such covenants were rendered legally unenforceable after 1948's Shelley v. Kraemer Supreme Court ruling, they continued to be promoted until more aggressively disallowed by 1968's Fair Housing Act. A note on the map reads "11-50 N L Co." suggesting that it was printed in November of 1950.

Since 2010, the University of Washington's Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project has located more than 500 restrictive covenants and deeds covering more than 20,000 properties in Seattle and its suburbs. In response, the Washington State legislature passed a law that since January 1, 2019 allows property owners to "modify" property records, disavowing the offensive restriction.

The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project includes an excellent essay on Innis Arden, with a focus on this map in particular. The essay includes the following summary of the development:

William and Bertha Boeing subdivided land just north of Seattle in 1940, named it Innis Arden, and hired Hugh Russell as sales agent for what was intended to be an expensive and "restricted community" with extraordinary views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. The founder of Boeing Aircraft had previously subdivided Blue Ridge, Richmond Beach, Richmond Heights and other prime areas on the ridges overlooking the Sound. In each case, the Boeings recorded restrictive covenants designed to prevent anyone who was not white from living in these neighborhoods. For Innis Arden, which would be governed by a homeowners association, a set of restrictive covenants were registered on August 28, 1941.

That essay was instrumental in the passage of the Washington State law:

In 2005, the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project published its initial database of hundreds of King County racial restrictive covenants. An Innis Arden resident heard about the project and alerted us to the neighborhood's troubled history, donating the digital copies of the 1940s-era brochure featured here. We added this page (an earlier version), setting off a chain of publicity and activism that resulted in an important change in state law. First the Seattle Times picked up the story (“Homeowners find records still hold blot of racism” by Lornet Turnbull, June 3, 2005). The Times followed with an editorial asking the legislature to “authorize the courts to expunge racial covenants from all properties covered by homeowner associations.” (“An ugly stain of racism exposed”, June 6, 2005)

Condition Description
Small loss from the blank margin at the top edge.