Seattle Underground Tour

A couple nights ago, we did the pub crawl to a place called Unicorn, which is decorated like the circus and serves Jell-O shots the size of your face. I also tried the local shitty tallboy beer:

rainier

A northwestern Lone Star

I awoke with the horrible feeling that I had been snoring. So, basically, to everyone else in my dorm room, I was “that fucking woman who was snoring all night.” Sorry, lady-from-the-Netherlands and weird-chick-who-never-gets-out-of-bed, I didn’t mean to keep you up. I never saw the rest of them. They all checked out in the morning.

Yesterday, I worked for about 4–5 hours and then I went to yet another Indian buffet, with yet another new German friend, Caroline. Caroline loves to get her dance on at the electronica club on Capital Hill and she has seen every episode of Grey’s Anatomy at least twice. Sara the Austrian loves Grey’s Anatomy too. The international language of McDreamy. I prefer my Patrick Dempsey more Donald Miller style.

Extra anchovies.

Extra anchovies.

My big touristy thing of the day was to go on the Seattle Underground Tour, which takes you under the streets around Pioneer Square. The original city was built on tide flats, so it was continuously flooding, and faulty planning of the sewage system sent shit literally bursting out of toilets. Indoor plumbing was new technology back then and no one really knew what they were doing.

When the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 consumed the mostly wooden city (but killing no one), the decision was made to build retaining walls out of the local quarry rock, and basically put their entire city up on stone stilts, raising them out of the shitty, flooded marshes.

IMG_1291

The original Seattle streets, which are now underground.

So Seattle’s original downtown is actually underneath modern day Pioneer Square. For years afterward, the space between was used as a sort of dump for household items and construction waste that was thrown in as filler to cushion around the support walls. Like a big basement for the city.

IMG_1302 IMG_1305

In the early 1900s, the underground was condemned because the whole place was overrun with rats (and there had been an outbreak of bubonic plague). For a while, the city offered a “bounty” on rattails. Until they discovered that people had been breeding and raising rats expressly to cut off their tails and turn them in for the reward.

IMG_1313 IMG_1324 IMG_1330 IMG_1332

The Seattle Underground Tour was started by a historian and urban conservationist named Bill Speidel in 1965. He sounds like an awesome dude. He wrote a book called Sons of the Profits, about how the city’s founders were motivated by greed, and he pretty much single-handedly saved the underground. Punk rock. He was also something of a comedian, so the tour has a stand-up comedy feel to it.

I wasn’t sure how funny it was going to be when my tour guide appeared to have just leapt from the pages of the J. Crew winter catalog:

IMG_1308

Miles. Sigh. He’s probably about 26. And pretty funny. I was surprised.

IMG_1311

Yeah, there are quite a few in this genre. Miles standing under the skylight.

IMG_1312

Fuck it. I should just send these photos to J. Crew myself.

IMG_1336

IMG_1335

I’ve been to bars that aren’t this nice.

IMG_1334 IMG_1338 Some of the cool shit in the gift shop:

IMG_1342

Old-timey espresso machine

IMG_1340

The kind of “junk” that was thrown into the underground.

IMG_1341 IMG_1344

The only other news is that they moved a bunch of guys into my dorm, so I am now sharing a room with an Englishman, a dude-bro frat guy, and a gynormous, extremely polite African fellow.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s