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Uncovering the Story Behind Seattle’s Buried City

The place found below the Pioneer Square in Seattle has been a mystery to some people. A relic of a different time, ignored and left to rot into dust. A city underneath the seaport city on the west coast of America. Back then, people will just call it Seattle, the original state where it was terribly dangerous. It was often flooded and fearfully prone to fire.

Before the 19th century, the largest city in Washington experienced a disaster in 1899–the Great Seattle Fire. Fortunately, city administrators had worked with contractors to address the pressing issues with the Emerald City layout. It was a highly ambitious proposal to build an underground, a bizarre remnant that was once of Seattle.

The Early Days Of Seattle

The place was discovered as a centre to transport lumber from the Pacific Northwest to California. The space was huge, filled with conifers and a typical harbor. It was the ideal venue to put up a port, but not the right region for a city.

The land around the lumber mill, which was discovered in 1852, was hardly above sea-level. This might be an insignificant factor for a lumber business, but it brought issues like floods that usually flowed through the city. Most buildings were perched on poles made of wood, which protected the city from drowning in water.

The stilts that held the earlier city of Seattle were made of wood. Their abundance of lumber was just immense, and so they’ve built wooden walkways and bridges too. The scrap logs were recycled for water pipes and sewage.

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The Fire

The Great Seattle Fire was blazing the entire night and eventually died down, next morning. It consumed 25 blocks of the city, the CBD, a couple of wharves, and the railroad terminals. The damage resulted in approximately $20 million worth. The bright side of the tragedy was only life lost, though it was still catastrophic for the locals.

The Plan

After the fire, city leaders came up with another ambitious proposal to the city’s infrastructure. They aim to fireproof the city and fix the recurring flooding issue. They planned on regrading the buildings by using brick and stone. To prevent the city from drowning again, those burned areas will be built above sea level.

The city on a city

The Abandoned City

After the renovation project was completed, the majority of every property’s first floor was abandoned. Hence, the underground city. It was used sporadically by the residents until 1907. It became the breeding ground for the bubonic plague. So, the underneath city was left to crumble.

At some point, the underground became a seedy place that housed gambling, sex-traffic, drug-trading, and all other undesired activities. As the years went on, the underground didn’t see much action and eventually was buried through time.

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The Pioneer Square, the area that holds the underground, still exists and is preserved by some hopeful individuals. It became a fascinating place for tourists who want to dig deeper into Seattle’s interesting history. Several stories were brought by the underground, but still, it drew attention to people who think it’s still a remarkable city after all.

Riley Brown
Written By

Riley is a history, lifestyle, and entertainment writer living in San Diego. He received his bachelor's degree in Journalism and Multimedia from the University of Oregon. His work has been featured in many finance and lifestyle publications throughout the US. When he is not writing, Riley enjoys reading and hanging out at the beach with his dog.


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