As a self-proclaimed history nerd, uncovering the history behind Seattle was high on the list of things to do. Exploring the underground world of what was the original Seattle was probably one of the coolest city tours I’ve done in a while. I knew about the great fire in Seattle, but I didn’t fully understand that they basically just build a new Seattle on top of the old one. This crazy story includes ladders to get to businesses, skylights to light the underground walkways and the business owners and city fighting over who was responsible for building new sidewalks. They couldn’t decide for a while so they just didn’t have sidewalks, hence the ladders. The streets were raised by 22 feet, and businesses banned wood buildings, which is why you have all the really cool brick buildings in the older parts of Seattle. Adding the height helped level a city that wasn’t that much different than San Francisco, and was very hilly. This, of course, created the sidewalk problem and where exactly to enter the new buildings which were built on top of the old ones. These fantastic archways were built to support the roads above, and the skylights were added that I mentioned before. Today most of the underground city of Seattle has become unusable, but in some places, it has been kept up and restored for the purposes of historical tours. Many business owners use the basements, which were once original storefronts, as storage now. So head on the Seattle Underground Tour and check out old tv show sets like The Night Strangler with Darrin McGavin, former bars and speakeasies, and the original streets of Seattle.
For more of the weird side of Seattle make sure you visit some graveyards where some well-known Seattle residents are from. No, unfortunately for all the 90s grunge fans you won’t find Kurt Cobain buried here. In fact, he’s not buried anywhere. But you can visit and pay your respects to Jimmy Hendrix as well as the graves of Brandon and Brue Lee. Brandon and Brue Lee are buried at Lakeview Cemetary where you can see other notable Seattleites, like Walter B. Beals, a Washington State Supreme Court Justice and the Presiding Judge over the Nuremberg Trials. The daughter of Chief Seattle, Princess Angeline, and the founder of Nordstrom, John W. Nordstrom can also be found there.
You can visit Hendrix’s grave at Greenwood Cemetary, with many of his other family members. It is the focal point of this cemetery and easy to find. Greenwood Cemetery was opened in 1910, but the oldest gravestone dates back to 1887. Greenwood is also home to the beautiful Garden of Eternal Peace and Lotus Garden. It is a tribute to the rich Asain culture in the Seattle area. It is a beautiful and serene place.
The highlight of my day might have been when our Lyft driver showed up in a Tesla, with these batman doors! I mean, come on now!!!