Before the days of smart phones, Google Maps, and even Map Quest, what did you consult when you were lost? A good, old-fashioned map, of course! Often tucked in a glove box or thrown across the backseat, a trusty map could turn a lost traveler into a confident driver. But what if you consulted a map from 50 years ago? What sorts of things might you find?
Let’s find out!
Distributed in 1967 by the Atlantic Richfield Company (also known as Arco), this map shows the greater Seattle area, from Tukwila to Edmonds, and West Seattle to Redmond. While many aspects of the roads and landmarks are the same, many aren’t. Part I will highlight a few spots around Seattle.
1. The Seattle Center
A mere five years after the World’s Fair for which it was built, the Seattle Center had changed, but not much. Many of the buildings still stood, although they had different purposes:
- The building that had housed exhibits for India and Korea became Youth Recreation
- Senior Citizens Activities occupied the building left behind by Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, and the UN
- “Show Street” was completely dismantled
- The United Arab Republic made way for a World’s Fair Museum
- The US Science Pavilion was christened The Pacific Science Center
- The Christian Pavilion gave way to the Nile Temple
- Part of the Gayway gave way to Space Needle Parking
Even today, many of the Center’s trademark buildings still exist, although with different names. The Seattle Center is also significantly smaller, as pieces of it have slowly vanished over the years.
- “Municipal Parking Garage” is now called “Mercer Street Garage”
- “High School Memorial Stadium” has been shortened to simply “Memorial Stadium”
- Space Needle parking? What Space Needle parking? Try looking under the EMP
- “Food Circus” is now the plain old “Center House”
- “Opera House” became “Marion Oliver McCaw Hall”
- “Arena” or “Mercer Arena” was demolished earlier this year
- The Sky Ride was moved to the Washington State Fairground decades ago
Each red box on the map represented an important structure. Here is a guide to all 44 spots:
- Benjamin Franklin Hotel: Demolished in 1980 for an expansion of the Westin Hotel
- Bon Marche: First sold in 1986, it changed its name to Macy’s in 2005
- Canadian Pacific Dock: It once ferried people between Seattle and B.C. Now it’s gone
- Central Bus Terminal: The site is under construction
- Chamber of Commerce:This ornate structure now houses businesses 5a. City Hall
- City Light Building: Now home to Expediors, a freight forwarding service
- Continental Trailways Bus Depot: Now a parking garage
- County Building: Now called King County Superior Court
- Doctor’s Hospital: Now part of Virginia Mason Hospital
- Federal Court Building: Today, it’s called US Appeals Court
- Federal Office Building: The Unites States Post Office occupies this site today
- Federal Reserve Bank: Current Home to the Washington Department of Licensing
- Ferry Terminal: Also called the Colman Dock
- Fireboats Station: Serving you since 1902. Serving you from this building since 1963
- Frederick & Nelson: A new shopping center now occupies this lot
- Harbor Patrol Station: The Harbor Patrol moved to Lake Union in the 1960s
- King Street Station: Built in 1906, it was finally returned to its former glory in 2013
- KOMO Radio and TV Stations: Some things never change
- KTNT TV Studios: Present-day parking lot
- Logan Building: This 10-story office building was built in 1959, renovated in 2009
- Mayflower Hotel: Celebrating 90 years of operation in 2017
- McDougall’s: This department store closed in 1966 and was demolished in 1971. It is now the site of a brick parking garage and Ludi’s Restaurant
- New Washington Doric Hotel: Elvis stayed here while filming “It Happened at the World’s Fair” in 1962. Now home to many as the Josephinum Apartments
- Norton Building: Built in 1959, this office building still stands
- Old Armory: The armory stood from 1909-1968. The site is now retail and offices
- Olympic Hotel: Open since 1924
- Penney’s: After nearly 50 years of business, this location closed in the early 80s. The building was demolished, and replaced with the Newmark Tower a decade later
- Pike Place Market: Thanks to preservation efforts in the 60s and 70s, the Market remains and is a hot tourist destination
- Post Office: The post office still operates a branch at this location
- Pubic Library and Civic Information Center: The 1960 library building on the old map was replaced in 2004
- Public Safety Building: Now the home to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, Seattle City Hall, Seattle City Council, and Einsten Bros. Bagels
- Rhodes: This branch of “Seattle’s Home-Owned Department Store” was closed in 1968 and demolished in 2005 for the WaMu Center Bank Tower
- Roosevelt Hotel: Hosting travelers since 1929
- Seattle General Hospital: Originally a hospital and nursing school, it merged with Swedish Medical Center in 1978 and moved. This building seems to have been replaced
- Seattle Park Department Administrative Building: Now called “Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent’s Office”
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer Building: The Seattle P-I moved from this building in 1986 and became online-only in 2009. The City University of Seattle now occupies this building
- Seattle Times Building: Now located in offices next-door, the Seattle Times sold their original building in 2013. Demolition started last year
- Smith Tower: Built in 1914, it’s the city’s oldest skyscraper
- Transit Service Office: Go to this location now and you’ll find a supermarket and a Starbuck’s
- Union Station: Today, it’s the beautifully-restored headquarters of Sound Transit
- Virginia Mason Hospital: Although much larger now, Virginia Mason still resides at this location
- Washington Athletic Club: Built in 1930, the club became a city landmark in 2009
- YMCA: 50 years later, this branch is still open
3. Museum of Science and Industry (MOHAI)
Planning a trip to MOHAI? Don’t use this map! If you do, you may find yourself near the University of Washington when you really need to be on the south end of Lake Union.
In 1967, MOHAI was situated in East Montlake Park off of East Park Drive. The museum opened in early 1952, displaying a collection of artifacts and photos that had been gathered since the 1910s by the local historical society.
The museum rapidly grew and expanded over the nest decade and a half, but when Highway 520 moved in, getting to the museum became more challenging. Voters who had once saved the museum from complete highway encirclement were upset by the heavy traffic through their once-quiet neighborhood and opposed subsequent museum expansion plans.
In the 1970s, MOHAI was plagued by unprofessional and unscrupulous employees. Artifacts were improperly handled, and some were even stolen. Employees who spoke up for the betterment of the museum were dismissed and/or publicly shamed. Staffing changes in the latter part of the decade pulled the museum out of the rubble, displaying more of its collections and shifting the focus of its exhibits back to local history.
In 2012, sixty years after the museum first opened, it relocated from Union Bay to Lake Union, setting up in the former Naval Reserve Training Center (also called Naval Reserve Armory).
The armory was built between 1941-1942 by the Works Progress Administration for $500,000. It operated as a naval training school during the second world war, but was decommissioned shortly thereafter. In 1946 it received renovation funding, in 1998 it was disestablished, and in 2009 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.