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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Old Industrial Seattle - SODO

These were taken before I quit my job, when I was still scurrying to and fro around Seattle. I am driving through road construction in the SoDo district of Seattle. (See below for SoDo description)
This industrial part of Seattle used to be fraught with danger by large work trucks. Literally, you would be in the extreme minority when driving through here during the week in a car with only 4 tires. Seattle has changed, the heavy labor industries, grit filled industries are all disappearing, and the old cedar beam constructed workshops and buildings are being converted or torn down. The one on the bottom is my favorite. That building has been sinking or twisting or leaning more and more with each passing year. When you walk in it, the woodwork is amazing. Not that it is fine woodwork in the carpenter sense, but it has timbers so large all I can think of is "we don't even have trees like that anymore anywhere in this state." And we are the Evergreen State. The trees cut down for these buildings were local. The wood is amazing. Sometimes I see it go by on Craigslist, someone has a beam and is parting it out for big bucks. Things change. I know. I also know I am in the minority when I look at a tilting building and get all nostalgic. Looking at an old building to me is like reading a book, or people watching. Look at it closely top to bottom, left to right, and you can see remnants of all it has been through. Cedar gutters? Loft accessible from the outside? Old staircases? Blocked off doors or windows? A prohibition era speakeasy in the basement? Look long enough and it will all appear.
SODO: This neighborhood is competely sitting on fill added to the mudflats of Seattle during the last turn of the century. Another hot spot in Seattle you don't want to be when the earthquake hits.... this area will liquefy, which means shake like jello in a bowl and turn to sloppy sinking sand. I am actually pretty sure that geologists have a better definition for liquefaction, but mine is more food friendly.
The newly named ("newly" means within my old lifetime) SoDo (meaning, cutely, SOuth of DOwntown) ( I don't even want to know how much the acronym folks got paid for that one)
centers around the old Sears building, now the Starbucks headquarters. Another clever acronym in Seattle is the S.L.U.T. (South Lake Union Trolley/Transit) T-shirts were quickly printed up with "Ride the SLUT." That one was quickly changed to SLUS... 'streetcar' instead of 'trolley.' I can't tell you how many times I made our poor transportation historian define trolley vs. streetcar vs. tram vs. train vs. elevated train on and on. Plus add in historic timeline. I can just tell you my former volunteers were amazingly patient.

Images: Top, always construction going on in Seattle dangit... gotta tear something down! Mid: Blue building example of Seattle heavy industry that used to abound in SoDo.
Bottom: Sad sad red building across the street from the Sears building. Trust me, it is cool on the inside. Well, okay. Cool if you are into old tilting things.


DirtyKSmama - Nikki said...

Eek! The red building is my favorite, too! My childhood dresser and bed, which are now used by my daughter, were purchased there when it was an antique "store," more like giant, dusty, AWESOME warehouse of antiques and crap. My sister and I used to have our annual picture taken together at the Sears across the street. My other favorite buildings were Rainier Beer and Sunny Jim, which I heard burned down. Bummer.

Blue Shoe Farm said...

Hey! I went in there when it was an antique store, and got my first pair of white bell bottoms at the Sears when we lived in West Seattle. I loved those pants....they had a red paisley insert on the bottom and a bell. (Now that I am typing that, they seem wierd.)
Thanks for reminding me! I will let you know when they tear down that building, I know it is not long for this world.

Blue Shoe Farm said...

The Rainier Beer is now Tully's, and I don't know where the Sunny Jim was?

dirtyksmama - nikki said...

Bell bottoms, printed corduroy pants - Seattle Sears had us stylin' in the 70s!

Hopefully people will keep that red building going. I guess one building in that area has been turned into a trapeze studio.

Like Rainier/Tully's, Sunny Jims was a brick building right next to I-5, but south of the West Seattle freeway onramp. It smelled funky when they made peanut butter. My dad worked out of the UPS center nearby, and was the UPS man in West Seattle/Alki for many years.

Anonymous said...

The blue building was Bethlehem Steel, when I first moved to Seattle in the 1960s and lived in West Seattle. Mom

Anonymous said...

By the way, I saw Portlandia on You Tube. In case you can't see it on Hulu.

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