Al's Photography Blog

Al's Photography Blog
Folly Beach, South Carolina

Monday, March 15, 2010

Seattle - Underground Tour

One of the things we did in Seattle was an underground tour near Pioneer Square. It turns out that old Seattle was built on tidal flats which would regularly flood. When the city burned down, the town promised to build the roads one level higher, but the businesses didn't want to wait until this was done and rebuilt as quickly as they could. Once the roads were higher, the previous second floors became the ground floors, and it's possible to tour a little of the leftover underground space. All these pictures were taken in dim light without a flash or tripod so take them for what they are.

It was dank and dirty, and there were some interesting leftovers, such as old bathroom equipment.
In many places, the windows would have looked out onto the streets before they were raised, as in this example.
The ceilings are now today's sidewalks, so there are people walking above.
Here's some old electrical gear, hopefully no longer in use.
Some of the sidewalks in that part of Seattle have glass in them. The glass provides a little light for these underground passageways; here's one looking up at it. If you wait, you can see the shadows of people walking above.


  1. As an archaeology worker, I find this absolutely fascinating--your photos and the whole idea of raising the streets.

  2. A lot of cities have 'undergrounds', and most of them have glass in the sidewalks to let in some light. I loved your tour, as I have only been underground in Pendleton (Oregon). It was very similar, but that was before I had a camera, so I only have my memories. Thank you! That was fascinating.

  3. Great!
    I like especially the last, with grass growing thanks to this filtered light turned to violet.


  4. Fascinating. Seattle has a very interesting history.


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