I've always been a fan of Paul Dorpat's "Now & Then" feature in the Seattle Times. I noticed a guy in the UK was making composited cross-time images by matching Google's Street View with vintage photos, so I made some of my own -- though I sometimes take my own "now" photos to improve alignment. It's been fun to time travel and think about people and events that happened in our region's past. All images can be clicked to see them at full size.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Regrade Do-Over!


I've been fortunate to hear from better informed experts on Seattle's past topology as I've posted these photo mash-ups over the last few years. That first batch especially had a few mistakes. Sometimes the image alignments were a little off -- Sometimes a lot. David B. Williams was nice enough to point out that the 1914 photo of the McNaught house was actually situated on the southeast corner of 6th and Marion, not the northeast as shown in my original composite. So, here's a do-over with the house where it should be. If anything, the elevation difference looks even more dramatic now. Thanks, David!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Just Passin' Through

This image from around 7th and Jefferson gives a sense of what it might look to drive through Seattle on I-5 in 1887 or 1888, a year or two before Washington attained statehood. The dramatic growth of the city is remarkable when you compare wider shots that contrast a town of wood and brick with the glass, steel and cement of today. Of course the stage will be set for Seattle's next growth phase by Great Seattle Fire which cut a huge swath through many of the buildings to the left in 1889.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lighter Than Air

Here we see the majestic USS Macon gliding above Seattle's Green Lake on August 22, 1934. The airship was traveling to its new station near San Francisco but took a leisurely route with time for a number of photo ops along the way. The Macon was a marvel of engineering and was designed to be a "flying aircraft carrier" with five small fighter planes. But even before the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 airships didn't have an encouraging safety record. The Macon's sister ship, the USS Akron, crashed off the coast of New Jersey the previous year with a loss of nearly all hands. The Macon too would be gone in February of 1935 when it crashed into the Pacific off the California coast near Monterey. Unlike the Akron disaster, all but two of its 76 crew members survived. The Macon's wreckage wasn't discovered until 1991 and the site is now a designated marine sanctuary.
Many of the residential houses from the era still stand today, though the area was clearly much more rural with some pastures and farms still evident. Both the baseball field and the Green Lake boathouse are present in the 1934 photo as well. The biggest change was certainly the addition of I-5 which eventually snaked through the fields in the central foreground.