Food & Drink

Seattle’s Hall of Fame

The innovators and trailblazers who put Seattle on the map

By Linda Morgan, Tim Appelo, Robin Avni, Alison Krupnick, Jasmine Moir, Jennifer McCullum and John Levesque October 31, 2016


This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Seattle magazine.

Photographed on September 7, 2016, in the Olympic Suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Over the years, the 1924 hotel has hosted multiple presidents (including two visits by FDR) and celebrities (from Bing Crosby to Elvis), many of whom have called the suite home. 

Every city possesses its own, unique spirit—its zeitgeist. It’s what makes a metropolis move, defines its identity and propels it forward. We owe much of ours to our city’s shapers—those leaders, trendsetters and trailblazers who, over the past 50 years, have transformed the town in extraordinary ways. In honor of Seattle magazine’s 50th anniversary, we’re spotlighting some of these innovators—all nominated by our panel of experts (below). Our list started out much longer and was culled after many hours of debate. 

The people on these pages—living legends who have made a major contribution during the past five decades—are influential in their own right, but are also just a representative cross section of the many talented visionaries, big thinkers and risk-takers who have shaped our city into the remarkable place it is.

Food and Beverage // Beauty // Music // Arts and Culture // Books

Philanthropy // Sports // Transportation // Architecture //Technology and Business

Urban Spaces // Commercial Development // Outdoors and Environment 

Activism/Social Justice // Civic Discourse and Community Leaders // Civil Rights // Cannabis

Politics // History/Preservation // Media/Journalism 

Education // Health Care // Research/Medicine/Science

>> Ed. Note: In 2003, we ran a similar story. Click here to read “City Shapers.” <<

Most Influential Advisory Panel 2016
As part of Seattle magazine’s 50th anniversary celebration, we created an advisory panel and invited members to nominate some of the most influential Seattleites from the past 50 years. During a series of meetings, these individuals helped to vet the candidates via some intense and lively debate. 

Joni Baltermultimedia journalist and host of Civic Cocktail

Kenan Block, owner, Kenan Block/Media & Communications

Rita Brogan, founder, PRR Inc.

John Cook, cofounder, GeekWire

C.R. Douglas, political analyst, Q13 Fox News

Rebecca Hughes, senior media consultant, Group Health Research Institute

Naomi Ishisaka, journalist and photographer 

James Keblas, founder, City Inspired

Alison Krupnick, Seattle-based writer

Diane Mapes, writer/editor, Fred Hutch News Service, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Marie McCaffrey, executive director and cofounder,

Mary McWilliams, former executive director, Washington Health Alliance

Steve Scher, part-time instructor at the University of Washington and former host of the KUOW-FM Weekday program

From Seattle and Seattle Business magazines:

Rachel Hart, Virginia Smyth, Linda Morgan, Jennifer McCullum, Jim Demetre, Jessica Yadegaran, Knute Berger, Leslie Helm and John Levesque

Project coordinator: Mandolin Brassaw

Follow Us

Trailblazing Women: Jean Smart

Trailblazing Women: Jean Smart

'Hacks' star reflects on her career and how growing up in Seattle shaped her

It's almost noon, and Jean Smart is present as ever during a phone call. She actually asks the first question, about whether I’m a Seattle native. “Oh, you are!” she exclaims, her voice lighting up with even more warmth when she finds out I am a fellow University of Washington alum and, like her youngest,

Dark Emotions, Lighthearted Interactions

Dark Emotions, Lighthearted Interactions

Whim W’Him presents two emotion-inducing premieres to close out the season

Last weekend, choreographer Olivier Wevers stood on the stage at Cornish Playhouse, asking the audience to drop their preconceived notions and open their hearts to art...

Abrupt Write Turn

Abrupt Write Turn

Zachary Kellian’s decision to pursue a new career nets him recognition

Zachary Kellian ditched a career he loved, as he puts it, “to live out a dream.”

Finding Place in Pictures

Finding Place in Pictures

Artist Sky Hopinka’s first solo museum exhibit in the northwest showcases his creative approach to language and identity

“I had cassette tapes and workbooks, but it was hard because I was living in Washington, and my tribal language has roots in Wisconsin,” Sky Hopinka says. Learning alone, he could listen to prerecorded Hocak phrases and practice writing letters and words, but an essential component was missing — another person to speak with. Photo