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Seattle's Historical Underground

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Beneath Pioneer Square lies a small portion of Seattle's history, destroyed by the Great Seattle Fire in 1889, yet preserved by a man named Bill Speidel in the 1950's.

When the fire burned down 6 city blocks, the city council decided the best option was to build on top of the ruins rather than rebuild with wood. The city developers filled the remaining structures with brick and stone and starting building sidewalks and streets on top of the existing structures. For awhile, pedestrians had to use ladders to get from one street level to another. Eventually, the leftover underground space began to just be used as storage space.

Today, there are two prominent tours that show and tell the story of Seattle's abandoned underground city. Both Bill Speidel's Underground Tour and Beneath the Streets offer guided hour long tours of the somewhat spooky former city streets.

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