Seattle, Washington: Seattle Underground Tour

Old Seattle was a world of sweat-labor, vice, and crime. It's brought back to life in a below-the-streets tour.
Address:
608 1st Ave. # 200, Seattle, WA
Directions:
Downtown; the tour begins at Pioneer Square.
Phone:
206-682-4646
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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City Underground Tour

Starts in Pioneer Square part of downtown Seattle and is literally underground. With much humor and quirkyness, you learn how Seattle rebuilt itself 40 feet higher on top of all the sawdust from the lumber mills after a fire at the turn of the century. You learn how toilets "unflushed" when the tide came in, how the streets were 20 feet higher than the sidewalks and you had to climb up and down ladders to cross the street. You learn how there were dozens of "seamstresses" but only a couple of sewing machines! These "seamstresses" were the major source of income for the city.

Many downtown buildings had two front doors built, one on the ground floor and one on the second floor. This is because once the town was leveled out more, the second floor would become the first floor and the first floor would become the basement...sound confusing? Well, you can still see these "first floors" underground now. Opium, gambling, and prostitution took place down there once they were supposedly abandoned. Very fun and very interesting. You know it's great because the city honchos wanted to ban the tour and hide this part of their history!!

[Pat, 10/28/2000]

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September 18, 2014

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