The Magnolia Historical Society will go back in time to the ‘50s and ‘60s with a themed party to celebrate the upcoming release of its third book documenting the neighborhood’s colorful past.

“Magnolia: Midcentury Memories” follows not only the people, places and events that were prominent in the neighborhood then, but also how major national and world events shaped life at home.

“The book will be published in October,” said MHS member Monica Wooton. “What’s happening right now is we’re going to begin preorders of the book, and that’s why we’re having the party.”

The free event will take place 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, in Pilgrim Hall at Magnolia United Church of Christ, 3555 W. McGraw St.

Because the event is not only celebrating the new book, but also the ‘50s and ‘60s covered in “Magnolia: Midcentury Memories,” attendees are encouraged to wear their letterman’s jackets, poodle skirts, tie dye, or bellbottoms. There will be prizes for best costumes.

There will be four short readings from the book, a raffle that includes a basket of gift certificates from Magnolia merchants and all three MHS books, hot rods provided by Magnolia Auto Show founder Eric Berge, free Dick’s burgers, lemon Jello cupcakes from Cameron Catering and a chance to preorder the new book at $35. The price after goes up to $40.

“Magnolia: Midcentury Memories” includes eight first-person memoirs, including growing up an army brat at Fort Lawton and growing up Catholic in Magnolia. Six histories covered in the book include Roman brick houses, street racing, the Magnolia Library and the many churches in the neighborhood.

The event is cosponsored by Magnolia Art Experience and Seattle Neighborhoods.

The Magnolia Historical Society’s latest book was made possible through an $80,000 Seattle Department of Neighborhoods matching grant the organization received in DON’s June 2018 funding round. MHS provided a 50-percent match — $40,000 — in volunteer labor, at $20 per hour.

“We had a lot of volunteer hours,” Wooton said. “So there’s about over 50 people now working on the book.”

More history is available at