The Old Bones of Seattle Still Exist Under the Cobblestone Streets of the City


Looking out of the window from the cozy seats of a Boeing 747, the City of Seattle is a beaming metropolis of modern architecture and construction.
But below the city streets, lay an extensive series of secret catacombs, the remnants of “Old Seattle” which was razed during the Great Fire of 1889. The once welcoming storefronts and sidewalks entombed when the city used them as foundation stones for the new construction.

The Destruction
On June 6th, 1889, an accidentally overturned glue pot, combined with a room full of wood chips and turpentine, set a carpentry shop ablaze and destroyed an entire city. The fire started in the Clairmont and Company
cabinet shop, located at Pontius & Republic. Wood structured buildings, filled with timber storage that had dried over a long, hot spring and summer, went up like kindling. In moments, the entire block erupted like a fueled furnace. Moments later, Kenyon, Madison, and Griffith blocks were also engulfed. When firefighters arrived, they were overwhelmed. Seattle’s water supply was insufficient to stand against the flames. Weak water pressure and a limited volunteer force contributed to the failure to contain the blaze. When it finally burned itself out, the fire had destroyed 25 city blocks, including the business district and the city railroad terminals.

You can find out more about the lost world through fun and safe underground adventures led by 3 reputable Seattle tour groups,
including Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, Spooked in Seattle,
and Beneath the Streets, all who educate visitors about the people, places, and things that led up to the Great Fire, and the steps the city took in order to survive the tragedy. It’s a great way to spend time with the family or that someone special. For those looking for a little more spice in their educational journey, Bill Speidel also offers the Underworld Tour, an adult only evening out, that focuses on the darker side of Old Seattle, and the drugs, crime, and prostitution that permeated the city in its early years.

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