Thursday, May 18, 2023

Hillman City

5/12/23 The Flour Box, Hillman CIty neighborhood

 Just south of Columbia City, the Hillman City neighborhood is not yet gentrified as is its up-and-coming sister to the north. Hillman is still full of modest, traditional homes, and the businesses seem less trendy and more ethnic. It’s probably still a bit more affordable, so a few newer businesses seem to be thriving there.

One of them is The Flour Box: Making “handmade filled brioche donuts,” it is known for having an hour-long wait in a line that stretches far out the door. Having lunch at Onda Origins Café and Roastery next door, I realized why there was no line at all when I had arrived: It had already sold out long before closing time. As I sketched, an employee brought out a sandwich board to give potential customers the sad news. Next time, I’ll plan my strategy better and go earlier.

Savory croissant and Cortado at Onda's sunny sidwalk seating.

Though I missed out on a donut, my lunch at Onda was none too shabby: A savory Swiss and sweet onion croissant (sorry, no sketch of it – I devoured it way too quickly) and a Cortado. At their sunny sidewalk seating, I had fun watching a staff member styling some fancy coffee drinks for photography (which I did want to sketch, but he was too fast for me).

After lunch, I walked down Rainier Avenue South, the main thoroughfare, to look for my next sketch. I hardly walked a few feet when I noticed the lovely dappled light on the sidewalk in front of Onda and the adjacent businesses. (I usually avoid scenes that are mostly in shade, but when you have a colored sketchbook in hand, it’s fun to catch the small bits of light.)

Hillman City

My plan was to walk the half mile or so to Columbia City to sketch the library, but somewhere along the way, I found much better action: A cement mixer, an excavator and another excavator with maybe an auger on the business end, all busily tearing up the earth in front of a church.

5/12/23 Columbia City

It was a fun afternoon exploring a neighborhood I rarely visit.


  1. Fun sketches of this neighborhood. It is nice to go to a new location once in a while and discover what is there. Sometimes the "non-gentrified" neighborhoods are more fun to sketch.

    1. Despite having lived here since birth, I still have many Seattle neighborhoods that I have never explored thoroughly as a sketcher!


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