Seattle Decades: the 1910s

Let’s take a look back at what the city looked like over a century ago.

A photo estimated between 1910-1920 of what Seattle's Pioneer Square used to look like.

Streets around Pioneer Square were bustling during the second decade of the 20th century.

Photo via Seattle Municipal Archives, No. 205619

Since our incorporation in the 19th century, Seattle has changed quite a bit. And with each year in our city’s history comes cool inventions, major cultural moments, and large developments.

In this new ongoing series, we’re turning back the clock and looking at Seattle through the decades — starting way back to the 1910s.

Population: 237,194
Mayors: Hiram C. Gill (1910–1911 + 1914-1918), George W. Dilling (1911–1912), George F. Cotterill (1912–1914), Ole Hanson (1918–1919), C.B. Fitzgerald (1919-1920)

1910 — Welcome, Georgetown. The area that used to be its own separate city is incorporated into Seattle.

1911 — After a short tenure, Mayor Gill is recalled after facing accusations of corruption. Newly enfranchised women lead the charge.

1912 — King County voters give the green light for harbor-improvement plans developed by the new Port of Seattle and a minimum wage of $2.75.

1913 — The Leschi, the first ferry for cars in Western Washington, makes its inaugural trip across Lake Washington. 4,000 folks show up to witness the voyage.

Smith Tower's construction in 1912 showing the surrounding streets and partially finished building.

This is what construction of the Smith Tower looked like in 1912.

Photo via Seattle Municipal Archives, No. 11924

1914 — The Smith Tower opens, becoming the tallest skyscraper in the West at the time of its unveiling.

1915 — Pike Place Market grows to 150 farmers per day after building its arcade and larger vendor stalls following its 1907 opening.

1916 — A lumber entrepreneur named William Boeing incorporates his fledgling airplane manufacturing business. You may have heard of it.

1917 — The Seattle Metropolitans win the Stanley Cup. The team would continue to play until 1924 when it was disbanded.

1918 — Mask mandates and ban on public gatherings take place during a Spanish flu outbreak.

1919 — A general strike begins in Seattle when 60,000 workers stay home, shutting down the entire city for six days.

Did you enjoy this decade roundup? Let us know what other time periods you’d like us to explore next in Seattle’s history.