Upper Pike 1902

July 8th, 2010 @ 12:08 am by Cliffe | Sorted Photo Exposure |
From the Washington State Digital Archives
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comes this crystal clear shot of Pike Street circa 1902.
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There’s a lot to take in from this bustling scene: multiple modes of transportation, stores, signage, a whole lot of wires.
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Post your best guess for the modern day angle — who can place it more accurately
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? Click for the ultra high res.
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Click Shows upper Pike Street, Seattle, Washington, 1902. Includes Broadway Pike cable car, horses and wagons, cars, Hotel Reynolds, Golden Shear[?] Bakery, Hotel Ethyl, Seren & Baldridge Tailors, and pedestrians. Photographed by Webster & Stevens. Image courtesy Washington State Digital Archives.

23 Responses to “Upper Pike 1902”

  1. Zeusifer says:

    I wonder if the “Golden Sheaf Bakery” on the left (just next door to the tall building which is still standing) is any relation to this Golden Sheaf Bakery in Berkeley, California, which is a landmark dating from the same era?


    In any case, the building which housed the Seattle version of the Golden Sheaf Bakery was apparently replaced in 1906. The location is currently occupied by a seedy-looking gay bathhouse called Club Z. A few years ago, the Stranger ran an article on Club Z, which included some history of the building and some other historical photos of the location:


  2. Cliffe says:

    Good work, Mike.

  3. Note the Right-hand-drive cars, and the drive-on-left arrangement of traffic flow.

  4. charlie says:

    Looks like a little later than 1902, cars are more of the 1910-12 vintage

  5. Geoff says:

    The air sure looks dirty!

  6. jim civarra says:

    I don’t think those cars are much newer than 1902. Very small engines under those little hoods. By 1912 the cars would be bigger and there would be more of them and most of them would be left-hand drive. And there would be trucks, too.

  7. wafflesnfalafel says:

    That is a wonderful shot – I walk past here several times a week. It is interesting that the “old” building that Utrecht art is in now hasn’t even built yet, (looks like it would be were the wood tenament houses are in the pic.) Lovely. Regarding the date – model Ts didn’t come until 1909/1910ish – can anybody tell what kind of cars those two in the pic are?

  8. charlie says:

    Just do a Google search of 1902 Automobiles, you will see that the American cars look a lot like buggies with a motor installed, “Horseless Carriages’.

  9. jim civarra says:

    I think I may have a clue to the date of the picture. The car that is parked to the left of the streetcar appears to have a license plate. Washington state issued its first automobile license in 1905. People had to make their own plates or paint the license number on the car (!) in those days. I would think that dates the picture to 1906 or maybe a year or two after that. Can someone find the construction date of the big brick building on the left? The signs in the windows seem to indicate that it’s brand new.

  10. CAM says:

    According to King County records, it was built in 1909

  11. Shot in the Dark says:

    Are those movie posters in the lower-left corner? Acc. to IMDB (and other sources), the earliest film version of “Lena Rivers” was 1910 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0347397/). Of course, it could be a book or stage poster, as well. I believe the book was written in 1894.

  12. Shot in the Dark says:

    Another item: The building nearest the “ROOMS” sign — the one that now houses the bathhouse — was the subject of an infamous article in The Stranger a few years back. The author put its completion date at 1906: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/bleak-house/Content?oid=31580

  13. Bruce says:

    I agree with Charlie- the cars are from the “brass era”, and appear to be of the 1910 vintage. There were literally hundreds of different makes of autos then, I can’t identify these for sure. As far as left hand vs right hand drive, manufacturers didn’t standardize that until the early 1920s.
    Also the caption reads “Broadway cable car”, it is actually a trolley or electric rail car. Broadway, of course didn’t have a cable line, and cable cars are identified by a slot between the rails where the cable ran.

  14. Paul Duca says:

    I totally agree that this picture is later than 1902…I wouldn’t think there would be as many cars on a given Seattle street then as this picture shows.

  15. Anaquita says:

    Hey just found this blog. Interesting stuff to look at.

    Anyhow I can’t believe the damned “club z” is still standing. There were plans for “renovations” or tearing down, anyhow, 4 years ago according to that article. Ugh.

  16. When did Seattle switch from cable car based trolleys to electric? That might also help with the year placement.

  17. I’d strongly suggest sending this link to Hemmings Motor News, as they have thousands of readers who are experts in Brass Era automobiles and could likely ID every one in the scene.

  18. linder_seattle says:

    For comparison, here’s a view from nearly the same location by Asahel Curtis in 1917 (UW Special Collections):

  19. Another piece of support.. streetcar #512 didn’t enter service until 1906.

  20. Colin says:

    The Club Z building (The Ethyl Hotel in this Pic) couldn’t have been built in 1906. It appears on the 1905 Sanborn Map!

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