The amazing Lisa Kelley came to stay with us last month and we had so much fun! Between Ty and I, we seriously have the best moms ever. Hands down.
While she was here we did quite a bit, but our favorite “touristy” thing we experienced was the underground tour of Seattle.
Before going into detail about the tour, I have to explain a little history. When the city of Seattle was first created, all the establishments were built too close to sea level. When the tide was high, or if it rained excessively (as it tends to do during certain months), the city would flood and the plumbing would ineveitably back up all over town. This happened frequently!
On June 6, 1889, a cabinetmaker accidentally overturned and ignited a pot of glue. (Back then, glue was grease-based, right?) He tried to extinguish it with water, but all that did was spread the glue over a greater surface area causing even more to burn. (I imagine the floor of his workshop being a giant pancake of a candle…no wick necessary!) The firemen responded, but they made the mistake of using too many hoses at once which caused the water pressure to drop, rendering the hoses ineffective against the wooden buildings. The Great Seattle Fire burned 31 blocks
After that, the city planners decided that 1) everything be rebuilt out of stone and 2) they would raise the level of the streets one to two stories to solve the “tide issue”.
“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”, raising the streets to the desired new level, generally 12 feet higher than before, in some places nearly 30 feet.” – Wiki
This meant that in order to access the original storefronts that survived the fire, people had to walk down ladders between the new street level and the original sidewalk. Women still wore dresses and skirts most of the time, so there were a number of “chivalrous” gentlemen that would pass a lot of their time standing at the foot of ladders to help women make their way down. Pervs. Anyway, people got sick of the ladders and most establishments finally made their new entrances at street-level. The “underground” portion of buildings eventually became unused and neglected, but have remained intact to this day. Hence, the underground tour!
…at the present-day street level. The “above ground” portion of the tour.
…original sign of this hotel still in use. 75 cents a room! (Not really.)
We saw this bathroom in one of the old stores. See how the whole thing is built up off of the ground? If the toilets were at ground level, when the tide was high, the drainage system wouldn’t work properly and the contents of the plumbing would literally back up and explode out. So they fixed the issue by building the outhouses a couple feet above ground. I picture those old cartoons when the characters would knock over a fire hydrant and be liftted up 10 feet in the air from the water pressure. I secretly kind of hope that happened to people.
The best part of the trip was spending time with family, though. My aunt (Sherri) and grandma (Peppy) live on Mercer Island, so we spent some time at Sherri’s place catching up and hanging out.
Tyrel was there but insisted on taking photos rather than being in them.
We act ridiculous when we all get together.
To quote my favorite movie, Good Will Hunting, the “tomfoolery and ballyhoo” continued when we had Sherri and Peppy over to our place for a late celebration of Peppy’s birthday.