Familiar yet totally foreign. As a kid in the eighties we moved into a turn of the (last) century house in Seattle’s Central District. In the process of hauling out the previous owner's stuff we unearthed layers and layers of personal history, from a carpentry workshop and handmade furniture to a multitude of oriental rugs nailed to the floor to make wall-to-wall — even a crack pipe hidden in the molding. (The picture is not our house, but see this house today below the jump.) Then our mother discovered that the state archives held pictures taken in the 1930s of every home existing in Seattle at that time, along with a few records. We discovered a broader history that spanned its beginnings among the city’s first middle class, then as part of a Jewish community, then an African-American neighborhood.
The picture of our house in 1937 with its carefully manicured lawn and vast space around it (now occupied with new construction in subdivided lots), hangs in our entryway, symbolically closing the loop between yesterday and today. To get yours, contact the Washington State Archives here with your property address and tax parcel number. You can order prints in any size from 5x7 to 16x20 for $17-$55. Images: Rhonda Porter for Rain City Guide