puget sound regional archives

your old seattle house by miriam_atelierdrome

The world was definitely a different place 80 years ago; the first technicolor Mickey Mouse short film was released, the first paperback books were being produced, and the average cost for a new home was $3450.00. Ever wonder what your old house looked like back then? Who built your house and when?

There's an easy way to find out! In 1937, the King County Assessor took photos and made property record cards for almost every house in Seattle. These are public record and for a small fee you can get a copy and start your trip down memory lane.

Here's how to get it:

1. Find your parcel number. Go to the King County Parcel Viewer and type in your address. Here's ours at 85 Columbia St. 

2. Email Puget Sound Regional Archives with your address and parcel number: PSBranchArchives@sos.wa.gov

3. In about a week, the Archive will pull your house's file and email you with their findings. Usually they'll find one photo and one property record card. If you're lucky they'll have a photo from the 1950s. At this point they'll ask for payment which can be done over the phone with a credit card. Tip: Ask for digital scans to be emailed to you -- these are higher quality and cost less.

3. Wait about 1 week. Check your email. Here's the photo we got of the DJC Building from 1937.

It's hard to imagine life without smartphones, wifi, and all our other modern amenities but how fun is it to get a glimpse of what your home looked like back in the day? It makes us a little sentimental, a little wistful... or is that just excitement about having a new photo to post for Throwback Thursday?!

In any case, good luck and share your findings with us! Happy reminiscing!