Jeremy and I woke up, headed downstairs and had our hotel breakfast. We went back upstairs, got ready for the day and left for Seattle.
Bill Speidels Underground Tour - Seattle, Washington
We parked at 4th and Madison in a parking garage and headed down the street to our underground tour with Bill Speidels Underground Tour. The company is pretty clever. After getting your wrist bands you are asked to wait in a bar. A lot of the tour group ordered beverages while we were waiting for the tour to start. Jeremy and I held hands, people-watched, and caught Pokémon.
One of the tour guides asked everyone to go down to the seating area, and it wasn’t until now that we realized how many of the bar patrons were there for the tour. We all went downstairs and took our seats. We got a humorous introduction to the tour, and then we were split into groups. Our tour guide's name was Adam. The introduction included information on how the city was founded, the issues with the septic systems, and more.
The first tunnel we went down into was narrow. Adam talked about how these tunnels were considered a rumor for a long time until they were rediscovered and these tours began. He talked about how the city had built streets high above the original sidewalks and civilians used to have to climb ladders to get up to the street in order to cross it. The sidewalks were not built up because there was a dispute about who was responsible - business owners or the city. A lot of the businesses downtown were taverns and “sewing houses”. Not one woman died from falling off the road with their 40 pound garments, however, 7 men fell off the road after having a fun, drunken night. The city, not wanting to get sued and take responsibility for these deaths, ruled them as suicide.
The city decided to build up the sidewalks to prevent more deaths from happening. When they did this, some businesses decided they wanted to use the areas below on the original sidewalks. However, there was no electricity back then to provide lighting down there, so they created areas in the sidewalk that were created out of glass with magnesium to make it clearer. After exposure over time to sunlight, the glass turned purple. Anywhere you see the old, purple glass in the sidewalks is the original glass placed the when those sidewalks were built.
We learned about the great Seattle fire. A young apprentice to a cabinet maker wasn’t paying attention to his work. He was making a type of glue and it overflowed and caught on fire. This is essentially a grease fire, and he threw water on it. The flames shot up into the shop above him, which was a paint store. From there it kept traveling since all of the buildings were wooden. The fire department, made of volunteers, showed up and tried out their new water system, which had never been tested out before. They hooked up their hoses and attempted to put the fire out. After hooking up several hoses, the fire department lost water pressure and didn’t know why. They decided to go down to Elliott Bay and try to use the water from there. The tide was low, and the hoses weren’t able to reach. The firemen at this point pretty much gave up on putting out the fire, evacuated the area, and watched the fire burn from atop a hill. The fire had since then reached a hardware store, which at that time was filled with gunpowder, dynamite, and more. The fire spread even further. The mayor came up with the bright idea to create their own explosion in the path of the fire, thinking it could create a fire wall, and the fire would burn itself out. It didn’t work. Everyone watched the city burn down. After the fire went out on its own, people from all over came to help rebuild the city, and as a result, the population increased drastically, and became the true metropolitan area it is known as today.
The building we were standing in front of underground used to be a bank. We got to see where a bank teller stood and was shot, as well as an old Victorian vault that used to hold multiple tons of gold.
We went back above ground and went to the next tunnel. We entered a giant room which had once been used for filming and had left some props behind. We were able to see an old storefront underground, the window frames still up, along with a door. We learned about Madame Lou, who was a business woman and a “seamstress”. We learned about how her ladies that she employed made a lot more money than the richest man in town. She demanded police protection for her girls under the condition that her girls each pay the city $10 a month. That was a lot back in the day, but her girls were making about $400 a month, so it was very doable. A lot of her seamstresses went on to own their own businesses, being able to retire early from...seamstressing.
We went on to the third and final tunnel. Here we got to see an old shopping cart, the original water pipes that were made of wood, an old tub, a Tesla elevator motor, and an original marketplace. There were little arches in the wall where merchants used to perch with their goods and they would write on the walls what they had for sale. You can still see the handwriting to this day. At the end, you ended up in their gift shop. We didn’t get anything.
Seattle Great Wheel
We walked back to the vehicle to switch out my camera battery. We walked down to the piers and had lunch at Elliott’s Oyster Bar. Jeremy ordered a Smoked Salmon Reuben Sandwich with fries. I got the pasta special, which included sun dried tomatoes, salmon, bow tie noodles, and greens.
We went down to pier 57 which has the giant Ferris wheel on it. We stopped at a few shops, and made our way back to the wheel. We got our tickets, and hopped on for the famous ride. The views were very pretty, and the wheel was a very smooth ride, the cars were like ones you would find on a gondola.
After the wheel we went to the Seattle Aquarium. Jeremy bought the tickets, and I donated money to receive two bracelets. Jeremy’s bracelet has otters on it, and mine has as octopus. Their exhibits were very cool. My favorite would be between the octopus and the otter exhibit. Jeremy’s favorite was the otters.
We ended up having dinner at a restaurant called Chinooks. We each ordered the clam chowder and the crab leg dinner. Jeremy washed his down with sweet tea, and I had water.
From there, we started the drive home. I hit a curb and blew the front drivers side tire. I was very upset with myself, but Jeremy stayed very calm and called our 24 hour roadside assistance. He kept reassuring me that it was okay. We got the iPad out and played games until the tow truck came to get us. Well, Jeremy played games and I fell asleep.
The tow truck arrived, and instead of squishing us in the cab, we got to ride in the car on top of the truck bed. It was so strange. We got to the car rental place and were given a Cadillac XTS. We drove back to the hotel, packed up everything we could for our flight home the next day, and then went to bed.
Photographer, visual artist, wife, mother to five fur-babies, and travel enthusiast.