1912 Baist's Map of Belltown


The incomparable Paul Dorpat has given Seattle a great gift - many gifts, actually, over the years, but this one is mind-boggling. He had a set of 1912 Baist's Real Estate Maps for Seattle, originally gifted to him by a retired real estate salesman. With the technical savvy and aid of Ron Edge, who produces the Edge Clippings feature of Paul's blog, the maps were photographed, digitized and made into indexed, interactive pdf files. The maps and how they were digitized are here.

There are 34 plates you can browse and even download. Most of Belltown, along with Uptown, is on Plate 8, pictured above. One item of immediate interest is the dashed line overlay of the Bogue Plan, which would have put a new civic center for Seattle in the heart of what is now Belltown. This plan included rapid rail transit from the steamship dock on Elliott Bay, and a huge station on Lake Union with a tunnel under Lake Washington to Mercer Island, which would have been a 4,000 acre park under this plan. This ambitious, to say the least, City Beautiful plan was voted down in 1912.

Another notable feature is the street end rights-of-way that extend past the piers to the Outer Harbor line, at the same angle as the piers. That just suggests all sorts of possibilities. These maps are a wealth of information and will be a lot of fun to play with. Thank you, Paul Dorpat.

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