THEME WEEK: Seattle History! This week we touch on a handful of people and places from Seattle’s history.
The first decade of the 20th century continued the Alaska/Yukon good boom days for Seattle, and the money spurred more growth and more new companies; in 1907, for example, 19-year old James E. Casey founded American Messenger Company with a borrowed $100, a company that would later evolve into UPS. In 1909, Seattle was the site for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, a world’s fair showcasing the development of the Pacific Northwest at large; the expo leased unused land on the second site for the University of Washington, and is largely responsible for the layout of the current UW. Local theatre impresario Alexander Pantages opened several vaudeville and silent movie theatres in this decade, beginning what would become a national theatre and movie empire and making Seattle the main scene for vaudeville in the Western US for many years.
In this street scene, likely photographed in 1910 or 1911, we can see the bustle of the thriving, renewed business district from the northwest corner of Second and Spring, where the Second and Seneca building is today. Today’s view from this corner, one hundred years later, is markedly different — none of these buildings remain, and in the distance we would see Wells Fargo Center and Smith Tower. The streetcars no longer run, and the clocks have moved to new locations around the city.