Seattle Central's origins can be traced to 1902, with the opening of Broadway High School. It operated as a traditional high school until the end of World War II, when it was converted to a vocational and adult education institution for the benefit of veterans who wanted to finish high school. As a result, in 1946, its high school students were all transferred to Lincoln High School, and the Edison Technical School (which already shared a campus with Broadway High) was expanded to fill the entire facility.
Edison started offering college-level courses when it was reconstituted as Seattle Community College in September 1966. North Seattle Community College and South Seattle Community College opened their doors in 1970, whereupon Seattle Community College was renamed Seattle Central Community College.
In March 2014, the Seattle Community Colleges District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change the name of the District to Seattle Colleges and to change the names of the colleges to Seattle Central College, North Seattle College and South Seattle College. The decision followed similar decisions by nine other Washington state community colleges that had recently started to offer baccalaureate degrees.