Historic structures in Cascade Neighborhood include St Spiridon's Orthodox Cathedral , Immanuel Lutheran Church, and several defunct laundry blocks. In 2007, a development named Alley24 was built around the New Richmond Laundry Building, a City of Seattle Landmark located between John and Thomas Streets and Yale and Pontius Avenues North. The historic façade was maintained in the new design by architecture firm NBBJ, who also relocated their headquarters to Alley24. The property is jointly owned by PEMCO and Paul Allen's development company Vulcan Inc.. Vulcan owns roughly approximately 6 acres in Cascade Neighborhood, a lower percentage of the land than in the rest of South Lake Union.
Cascade grew up in the late 19th and early 20th century as a blue-collar neighborhood with a mixture of housing and one of the city's first industrial areas. It was the original home of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church (built 1919-1921; congregation moved 1963; demolished 1995), and remains the home of St. Spiridon Russian Orthodox Cathedral (established 1895, present church completed 1938) and Immanuel Lutheran Church (established 1890, present church completed 1912).
Like most of Seattle, the Cascade Neighborhood was originally heavily forested. In the 1860s, David Denny and Thomas Mercer first claimed portions of this land. However, initial development was a bit west of Cascade, at southwest Lake Union, which became a transportation nexus and where Denny established the lake's first sawmill. By the 1880s, more mills and more cleared land led to the origin of Cascade as a residential and industrial neighborhood, tied into water transportation.
Another notable pioneer was Margaret Pontius, known for her extensive work as what would now be called a foster parent. She and her husband, Rezius Pontius, lived in the neighborhood by 1885, and by 1889 had built a Queen Anne style mansion, designed by John Parkinson, along Denny Way near what is now Yale Avenue.
Cascade was settled largely by Russians (some via Alaska), Swedes, Norwegians, and Greeks. In 1894, the Cascade School (also designed by Parkinson) opened and the neighborhood acquired a name. As the neighborhood grew, the school expanded in 1904 and 1908. Cascade businesses in this era included sawmills, shingle mills, and boat yards along the lake, as well as cabinetry and furniture shops, grocery stores, laundries, and boarding houses.