|Beer Bust, 14th Street, Seattle|
In the late-1800s, Seattle was a bustling supply station for the Alaska gold miners. The famous (infamous) seamstresses, of which there were thousands, served the clothing and "other" needs of the miners and sailors. Seattle grew into a major timber, ship-building, and shipping city.
The economy grew, and during much of the 20th century, Seattle was a Boeing city, making many of the commercial aircraft used throughout the world. But in 1971, trouble came to Seattle. The US Senate and House of Representatives voted to cancel any further development of Boeing's supersonic transport, originally intended to be a competitor to the European Concorde. Boeing fired thousands of engineers and technicians. The city sank into depression. People joked how the last person out could turn off the lights. I recall that the downtown in the 1970s had the seedy look of an old American city, with tired buildings, dirt, and closed shops.
When I returned to Seattle for a short assignment in 2004, the economy had turned around. Was this the same city? Seattle had become a tech Mecca, with Microsoft and numerous other computer and electronics firms in Bellevue, just across Lake Washington from the city. Traffic was snarled and dense, all day long. Glass office buildings filled downtown. Housing was expensive even on 2004 standards (and a purchase then would be considered an astonishing investment when you look at today's housing prices). New money parked their Ferraris and Porsche at their lakeside cottages.
Here are a few photographs of Seattle that I took in 2004 with a Hasselblad XPan panoramic camera, using its 45mm lens. In the previous article, I described the remarkable XPan. Click any picture to see more detail.
|Where did all those office towers come from? View south towards downtown Seattle. I-5 is on the left.|
|South Lake Union district with Space needle in the center|
|Queen Anne Hill and Lake Union in 2004|
If you are really rich (or lucky), you can live on Queen Anne Hill and see Puget Sound to the west, Seattle and the distant Mount Rainier to the south, and Lake Union to the east. It is a bit crowded, and house lots are squashed together, but there is a nice sense of community, with local stores and restaurants. In the early 1900s, a funicular streetcar ascended Queen Anne Avenue. In the photograph above, the snow-capped Olympic Mountains are in the far left of the scene.
|Queen Anne Avenue without the funicular (2021 digital file)|
|Kerry Park, Queen Anne Hill, Seattle (2021 digital file)|
|Lake Union, Seattle|
This ends our short look at Seattle. Make time to visit the Pacific Northwest, walk around Seattle, take photographs, eat fish, and drink craft beer.
Some day, I will scan my 1970s negatives of Seattle. Standby.