Underground Seattle - How and When did it get Buried

Ended up driving to Seattle to take a look at some of the Pioneer Square area buildings. And while the main purpose of my Seattle visit was to verify a few things pertaining to the Sinking Ship parking garage, walking the streets made me think about something else.
  • Do we have any evidence of the streets getting buried in accordance with the PTB narrative?
The Seattle Underground
Here is the narrative. The Seattle Underground is a network of underground passageways and basements in downtown Pioneer Square, Seattle that were at ground level when the city was built in the mid-19th century. After the streets were elevated, these spaces fell into disuse, but have become a tourist attraction in recent decades.
  • After the Great Seattle Fire of June 6, 1889, new construction was required to be of masonry, and the town's streets were regraded one to two stories higher.
  • Pioneer Square had originally been built mostly on filled-in tidelands and often flooded. The new street level also kept sewers draining into Elliott Bay from backing up at high tide.
  • For the regrade, the streets were lined with concrete walls that formed narrow alleyways between the walls and the buildings on both sides of the street, with a wide "alley" where the street was.
  • The naturally steep hillsides were used and, through a series of sluices, material was washed into the wide "alleys", by raising the streets to the desired new level, generally 12 feet (3.7 m) higher than before, in some places nearly 30 feet (9.1 m).
  • Seattle Underground - Wikipedia
KD: I think that photographic evidence does not match the buried structures.

My Understanding
The narrative tells us, that at some point after 06/06/1889, Pioneer Square area streets were buried for the purposes of whatever. The actual purpose is irrelevant for this article. The after-fire remains of the buildings were to be buried, that's what important. Naturally, the only buildings they could bury after 06/06/1889, were the remains of the buildings they had prior to the Great Seattle Fire.
  • I do not want to insult anyone's intelligence here, but here is what I mean.
Pre-Fire Pioneer Square
Below, we Yesler Way at the intersection with 1st Avenue. We are looking east toward the Occidental Hotel. On the left you can see the Yesler-Leary Building. And this is a photograph dated with 1888.


On the below photograph, allegedly made circa 1887, the photographer was standing in the middle of Yesler Way and 1st Avenue intersection. We are looking North. To our right (we can't see it) is the Occidental Hotel. In 1887 this hotel was already fully functional.


The next photograph was allegedly taken on 05/06/1889. That would be one day prior to the great Seattle Fire. On the right you can see the Occidental Hotel. On the far right is the Yesler-Leary building.


Below, we are looking south on 1st Avenue (former Front street). We are standing at 1st Ave. and Marion street intersection. I am not sure what year is being claimed for this image, but we can see the Yesler-Leary building at the end of row of buildings on the right. The Yesler-Leary building was allegedly built in about 1883, so it's some time after that.



After the Great Fire
Any inspection of the post-fire photographs will confirm that the entire area was more or less annihilated. The destruction was spectacular, and can be compared to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • The map below is showing the affected area.

After-fire Photographs

Here, we are looking South-East towards the Occidental Hotel. I think we are standing on the 1st Avenue, formerly known as Front Street.



According to what we can read here, we are looking north on 1st Avenue. The ruins on the left are that of the Frye Opera House. Essentially, this is 1st Avenue and Marion Street.


I am not sure where the First National Building was, but this is what our Yesler-Leary Pioneer Square area structures looked like after the fire.



The exact location of the below photographs is unknown, but we are looking west towards the Elliott Bay, and this image is indicative of the damages sustained by this area of Seattle.


Additional photographs: link

Seattle Underground
Now, it's been a few years since my last underground tour in Seattle. I vaguely remember entrance points to the underground, but the below map is more or less what happened during my visit.
  • You go in through the main entrance.
  • Then, you enter and exit the underground through entrances indicated by the smaller arrows. I think we got down below through three different areas.
  • Essentially, they show you a little bit, but that "little bit" is rather impressive.

Once we get down there, what exactly do we see? Instead of the former above ground city destroyed by the Great Seattle Fire we see the following.












KD: I am not sure that what we are being shown below, matches the houses destroyed during the Great Seattle Fire of 1889. In other words, I think these are completely different buildings.

Pavement Lights
Pavement lights (UK), vault lights (US), floor lights, or sidewalk prisms are flat-topped walk-on skylights, usually set into pavement (sidewalks) or floors to let sunlight into the space below. They often use anidolic lighting prisms to throw the light sideways under the building. They were developed in the 19th century, but declined in popularity with the advent of cheap electric lighting. Older cities and smaller centers around the world have or have had pavement lights. Most such lights are approximately a century old, although lights are being installed in some new construction.

I walked around the downtown a bit, and ended up checking out a few buildings. What's interesting, we have these pavement lights in the areas where street level raising activities make little to no sense. There is no way regular tides can reach that far East.
  • I did take a few pictures, but using Google Maps ended up being easier. Here is where I saw those.
1. Yesler Way and 2nd Avenue.


2. Jefferson Street and an alleyway between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.


KD: I start to doubt that buildings we have buried below the Pioneer Square area are the same ones we see on the available pre/post Great Seattle Fire photographs. I definitely need to revisit the tour, but I do not recall seeing any definitive fire damages during my previous visits. From the photographs we know that this specific area got annihilated by the fire.

They could only bury the ruins. But buildings below the surface area do not appear to be the ones to suffer the fate of the ones we can see on the post-fire photographs.
  • Could it be that buildings we see on the 19th century photographs were built on top of an older and already buried city?
  • Could it be that there was no raising of the streets after the Great Seattle Fire?
  • Is there a single photograph showing street level raising activities at Yesler Way/James Street and 1st Avenue?
The red squared area on the below photograph, is where the Pioneer Building will stand.
  • If you choose to visit the "Seattle Underground" tour, you will find out that there are plenty of walkable streets below this place. How is that possible?
    • The description at the source is incorrect. We are looking east here.
Additionally, "The foundation for the new Pioneer Building had already been excavated by the time fire swept through the city, but the ensuing construction crunch slowed the completion of the Pioneer Building."
Once again: what building did they bury here? We can clearly see that there are no buildings here? Well, I don't see the claimed foundation for the Pioneer Building here either.



When did they stop wearing these uniforms, by the way? Were those still around in 1889?
  • Is it a nice looking street light?



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