Before the first non-indigenous settlers arrived in the Green River Valley in the 1850s, the area was home to the Muckleshoot people, who were temporarily driven out by Indian wars later that decade. Several settler families arrived in the 1860s, including Levi Ballard, who set up a homestead between the Green and White rivers. Ballard filed for a plat to establish a town in February 1886, naming it Slaughter for an officer slain during the Indian wars in 1855.
Slaughter was incorporated on June 13, 1891, but its name was changed two years later to Auburn on February 21, 1893, by an action of the state legislature. Newer residents had disliked the name and its connection to the word "slaughter", especially after the town's hotel was named the Slaughter House. The name Auburn was chosen in honor of Auburn, New York, for the area's shared reliance on hops farming.
The White and Green Rivers have been a major part of the history and culture of Auburn since the area was settled with multiple locations in the city being named after either of the two rivers. Frequent flooding from the rivers caused numerous problems for the people living in the community with one outcome being the creation of Mountain View Cemetery over on one of the hills overlooking the valley. It was not until the completion of the Mud Mountain Dam and the Howard A. Hanson Dam, along the White River and Green River respectively, that the flooding would cease and allow the city to grow without the aforementioned hurdle impeding the growth.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.89 square miles (77.41 km2), of which 29.62 square miles (76.72 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.70 km2) is water.
Two rivers, the White River and, to a greater extent, the Green River flow through Auburn.
Historically, the Stuck River ran through the settlement of Stuck, which is now a small pocket of unincorporated King County within southern Auburn. In 1906, the flow of the White River was diverted into the Stuck's channel near today's Game Farm Park. References to the Stuck River still appear in some property legal descriptions and place names, e.g. Stuck River Drive, within Auburn, but today it is essentially indistinguishable from the southern White River.
- Downtown—Historic buildings with a traditional main street and also many Craftsman-style houses from the 1920s.
- North Auburn—A mix of commercial and single-family housing separated by Auburn Way North.
- River's Bend—A small residential neighborhood nestled along the Green River, located at the bottom of Lea Hill in North Auburn.
- Christopher/Thomas—An area in North Auburn roughly bordered by the Valley Drive Inn and 227th Street. Both are former farming towns annexed into the city in the 1960s.
- Lea Hill—A mainly residential neighborhood east of the valley, annexed into the city in 2007. Green River College is located here.
- Hazelwood—The area on Lea Hill between Green River Community College, and Auburn Mountainview High School. Once a town in the late nineteenth century.
- West Valley—A commercial and industrial area on the west side of SR 167, located on the bottom of West Hill.
- West Hill—Located on the West Hill, bordered by the city of Federal Way to the west.
- South Auburn—A general area located south of downtown, once a low-income area but becoming a commercial zone.
- Terminal Park—An area of middle class housing near the end of the rail yard named for the railroad workers who lived there.
- Forest Villa—Mainly residential area located in the Game Farm Park area.
- Lakeland Hills—A master-planned community sprawling on a large hillside at the southern end of the city on both sides of King and Pierce counties.
- Hidden Valley—A planned development located East of Lakeland Hills overlooking North Lake Tapps.
Public schools are administered by the Auburn School District. The district is larger than the city itself, serving the neighboring towns of Algona and Pacific, as well as some unincorporated areas around Auburn and Kent.
- Auburn High School
- Auburn Mountainview High School
- Auburn Riverside High School
- Auburn Adventist Academy
- West Auburn High School
Elementary and middle schools
- Arthur Jacobsen Elementary
- Bowman Creek Elementary
- Cascade Middle School
- Chinook Elementary
- Dick Scobee Elementary
- Evergreen Heights Elementary
- Gildo Rey Elementary
- Hazelwood Elementary
- Ilalko Elementary
- Lake View Elementary
- Lakeland Hills Elementary
- Lea Hill Elementary
- Mt. Baker Middle School
- Olympic Middle School
- Pioneer Elementary
- Rainier Middle School
- Terminal Park Elementary
- Washington Elementary
Private and alternative schools
- Auburn Adventist Academy
- Rainier Christian High School
- Valley Christian School
- Holy Family School
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About the Neighborhood
Listings courtesy of Northwest MLS as distributed by MLS GRID. Based on information submitted to the MLS GRID as of Jun 2, 2023 7:05:pm. All data is obtained from various sources and may not have been verified by broker or MLS GRID. Supplied Open House Information is subject to change without notice. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information.