Seattle’s Secret Underground City
Seattle has a secret underground city. How many of you all knew that? I was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, and I didn’t.
In Seattle’s early days, her Pioneer Square would be unfit for visitors, as the high tides from the Pacific Ocean would back up the sewage system. The toilets would over flow, and the continual downfall of rain, which Washington state is known for, would turn sidewalks and streets into rivers. This lack of foresight in Pioneer Square’s architectural design was gratefully solved when over 25 blocks of her structures were wiped out by fire in 1889. Since most of the structures back then were made of wood, Pioneer Square easily turned into one huge bonfire.
With a little more hindsight in the rebuilding of Seattle’s Pioneer Square, the city constructed new buildings out of more fire-resistant bricks and mortar. The streets were raised to solve the flooding–the city was built above the streets. A part of Seattle’s unknown history got buried with the new buildings and structures after the great fire.
As time went on, the city continued to build above the Square’s low-lying streets until they turned those very same streets into an underground city. This underground city became a parallel world of 19th-century banks, bars, and storefronts that were frozen in time and forgotten by those living in the rebuilt city above. As Pioneer Square got built higher, the tunnels and buildings underneath became home to the vagrants, homeless, and destitute.
A whole city thrived underneath, and people died down there without any one up above being any the wiser. It is said these people still haunt their old home. The energy of this city still thrives in the underground bowels of Seattle. The underground city is now only inhabited by ghosts and spirits…so people say. It is said to be one of America’s scariest places.
A man by the name of Bill Speidel discovered the underground city, and, with the suggestion of his wife Shirley, decided to restore it by offering the first underground tour in 1954. Later tours helped restore it even more.
So, if you are ever in Seattle, take one of Bill Speidel’s famous underground tours and visit Seattle’s forgotten city.