Plus, MOD Pizza closes flagship store.
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Today’s Forecast

53º | 90% chance of precipitation | Sunrise 6:56 a.m. | Sunset 7:32 p.m. | High tides 6:36 a.m. and 7:43 p.m. | Low tides 1:11 p.m. | Full Weather Report | Traffic Report

Seattle’s very own “Us” set
A black-and-white drawing showing a horse-drawn vehicle on a road that is risen above ground level. Each side of the road is lined with drawings of buildings. On the left side of the road, a drawn figure can be seen in a hallway underneath the sidewalk.
After streets and sidewalks were raised, underground passages were left behind, as shown on the left side of the drawing.|Photo by Chris Murphy via Flickr
Beneath Pioneer Square’s well-trodden streets is a different set of walkways, ones unused by Seattlites living their daily lives. There they sit, empty and desolate, apart from the occasional Tripadvisor-recommend tour or two.

But it wasn’t always that way. Back in the 1800s, these were normal, ground-level sidewalks bustling with banks, shops, offices, and businesses. Now, they’re known as the Seattle Underground.

How did these once-bustling sidewalks become empty, underground pathways? It all started with an accidental fire in 1889...

How does a fire lead to underground paths?

While the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 didn’t necessitate leaving sidewalks unused and underground, it did necessitate rebuilding parts of the city.

Just a few days after the fire, then-Mayor Robert Moran hosted a public meeting to discuss that necessary rebuilding. During the meeting, several locals suggested widening and raising Front Street (now First Avenue) and other streets north of Yesler Avenue (now Yesler Way).

But the sidewalks weren’t hurt by the fire, at least not seriously, so why did the city want to take on this project?

The city and its citizens hoped that by raising the street level — in some cases, by up to 22 feet — Seattle could improve its drainage system that often backed up during high tides. Since they were on the topic of rebuilding, Seattleites seemed to say, “Why not?”

So, the city built walls on either side of the old streets and paved over them to create new roads.

But Seattle Underground wasn’t born with this rise of the streets — not yet, at least. In fact, several of the newly-built buildings still had their entrances located on these original sidewalks, which were now below street-level but not yet fully underground. At the time, many of the businesses had ladders or stairs to access the entrances.

Eventually, sidewalks were added in line with the new streets, putting the old ones fully underground and making them much more difficult to access. It was the early 1900s when Seattle officially sealed access to these underground tunnels, only to be reopened at certain spots in the mid-1960s for tours that still run today.
When were some portions of Seattle Underground unsealed for tours?
A. Mid-1930s
B. Mid-2010s
C. Mid-1960s
D. Mid-1890s
Wednesday, March 27
  • Cocktail Masterclass: Build Your Own Old Fashioned | Wednesday, March 27 | 6:15-7:30 p.m. | W Bellevue, 10455 NE Fifth Place, Seattle | $70 | Learn how to make your own fancy cocktail using Woodinville Whiskey Co.'s spirits as your base.
  • “Bob’s Burgers” Trivia | Wednesday, March 27 | 7-8:30 p.m. | Wildrose, 1021 E. Pike St., Seattle | $7 | The other team’s a** is grass and you’re going to mow it with how much you know about this show.
Thursday, March 28
  • Ladysmith Black Mambazo | Thursday, March 28 | 8 p.m. | Neptune Theatre, 1303 NE 45th St., Seattle | $35 | These five-time Grammy Award winners have been touring the world for 60 years.
Friday, March 29
  • Sakura-Con | Friday, March 29-Sunday, March 31 | Times vary | Seattle Convention Center, 705 Pike St., Seattle | $120 | This “by fans, for fans” anime convention features theme song karaoke, writing and drawing workshops, video game tournaments, and panels with celebrity voice actors.
  • Tim McGraw: “Standing Room Only Tour 2024" | Friday, March 29 | 7 p.m. | Climate Pledge Arena, 334 First Ave. N., Seattle | $74-$1,000 | The country music star is sure to get your boots tapping and your yee’s hawing.
Saturday, March 30
  • Seattle Color Festival - Holi 2024 | Saturday, March 30 | 11 a.m.-4 p.m. | Mural Ampitheatre at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle | $0-$15 | Put on something white and get ready for a vast celebration of color.
Click here to have your event featured.
News Notes
Coming Soon
  • Yasuaki Saito — the local restaurateur behind Saint Bread bakery, Tivoli, and Post Alley Pizza — has plans to open a new Japanese-style tea room and coffee shop bistro called Wayland Mill at the Northlake Commons development. At the time, there is no set opening date for the restaurant. (Puget Sound Business Journal)
  • Gov. Jay Inslee officially signed the Washington “Strippers’ Bill of Rights” into law earlier this week. The bill is intended to help create safer working conditions for those in the adult entertainment industry + allow related businesses to obtain liquor licenses. (Seattle Times)
  • After five years in business, Bellevue-based MOD Pizza has closed its flagship location in Pioneer Square. MOD Pizza continues to operate its other Seattle-area locations, along with its 540+ restaurants across the US and Canada. (Puget Sound Business Journal)
  • Several volunteer opportunities are currently available with the Seattle Department of Transportation, including spots on the bicycle advisory board, transit advisory board, and pedestrian advisory board. Apply by Monday, April 15.
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation is asking citizens to provide input on the future play area at Bryant Neighborhood Playground. Seattleites can take an online survey or head to an open house on Wednesday, April 10 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Seattle Public Library, NE Branch.
  • The Seattle Mariners’ Opening Day will take place tomorrow, March 28. Hear projected Opening Day lineups from the local Mariners experts with Locked On’s daily podcast.
    Try This
    • You’re invited to an intimate evening with beloved Americana singer-songwriter Sera Cahoone live in Seabrook on Saturday, May 5. Seabrook Town Hall will host the show, followed by a special meet and greet. Tickets are $25. Pro tip: Use the code “Sera10” to book a weekend stay and enjoy 10% off plus two tickets to the show.*
    • Whoops — Looks like we started Spring Break a little too early. Monday’s newsletter included an unfinished Sports News Note that might have been a little confusing to read. We apologize for the blemish, but hope you got some great podcast recommendations.
    🏟️ New stadium features
    A rendering of the renovated Memorial Stadium shows an overhead of the facility with new covered seating, a plaza, and covered eating areas.
    TKTK|Rendering via Seattle Center
    In case you missed it, Memorial Stadium is getting a makeover — and now we have a solid first look at what it may look like once the construction dust clears.

    Seattle Public Schools and architect Generator Studio filed a Building & Land Use Pre-Application, and with it we got a new set of renderings giving us a better look at the stadium’s new features.

    We also now know that between its press box, concessions stands, restrooms, and storage areas that the project makes up ~70,000 sqft of enclosed space. Other expected features include:
    • 8,000-person projected capacity
    • Covered stands
    • Synthetic turf playing field
    • All-electric design
    • Enhanced, but preserved, Memorial Wall
    A proposed site plan for the renovated Memorial Stadium shows lots of covered seating, a parking lot, and the features' orientation on the lot.

    A site plan was submitted along with the renovation’s building and land use pre-application.


    Site plan via City of Seattle


    A term sheet between the City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, and the One Roof Stadium Partnership that was reviewed by our friends at KING 5 provides a look into some of the renovation plans, including next steps + new features to expect upon completion.

    According to the term sheet, public funding will be capped at roughly $110 million. Of that number, Seattle Public Schools will be responsible for $66.5 million, the City of Seattle will be responsible for $40 million, and the Washington State Department of Commerce will cover the remaining $3.95 million.

    The One Roof Partnershipthe corporate team behind the Seattle Kraken, Climate Pledge Arena, its philanthropic counterpart One Roof Foundation, and Oak View Group — pledged $5 million and is leading a private fundraising campaign for remaining costs.
    The Buy
    New denim on Nordstrom Rack. We’re seeing great finds in women’s jeans from Joe’s, Good American, and Lucky Brand, all perfect for a spring refresh.
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    The Wrap
    Brianna Williams Today’s edition by:
    From the editor
    Back in my college town of Chattanooga, TN (funnily enough, this is also where City Editor Alina attended college), there’s a similar piece of underground history. While there are various theories and claims about how Underground Chattanooga came about, there’s not really a definitive answer.
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