Historic Photos of Your Seattle Home

Did you know that if your home was built prior to 1930, there may be a photo of it in the State Achieves that you can obtain?

It takes a couple weeks to receive the photo and for a few cents extra, you can order the records that they [photopress:prince.JPG,thumb,alignright]have available from that time.    The black and white photo is from 1939 of the property which was built in 1927.   The color photo is a current picture of the home.

To order a photo of your home from the Puget Sound Achieves, click here to send an email.   You will need to provide:

  • Property address
  • Tax Parcel Number (I can help you find this if you don’t have this handy)
  • Legal Description (lot/block…they just want a brief one)
  • Your name and contact info

You can order anything from a 5×7 for $17.00 to a 16×20 for $55.00.   They will let you know what years are available.  It’s kind of fun to frame the older photos or to at least have them on hand.

25 thoughts on “Historic Photos of Your Seattle Home

  1. Thx for the info Rhonda. These photos great may personalized closing gifts for both buyers and sellers. If you have enough notice prior to listing a home I also display a nice framed version of the photo near my flyers and offer packages.

  2. We have framed our photo. It’s a fun piece of history to have. With this house, there are actually two photos available and the fine folks at the archieve discussed which one they thought was more interesting. The other photo was later and the front window was modified to look as the house appears now. By purchasing the records (which I want to say was less than $1) we were able to see both photos and some history on the home.

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  4. Hi Deborah,
    I just took another dose of theraflu and I’m going to try to finish my moss hanging baskets! I have one done from a few days ago and we want to get them up soon! I’ve got a bunch of plants waiting on me. 😉 This nasty cold/bug of mine is wearring me out. 🙁

    Our home was built in 1928…it’s fun when you see other old buidlings around Seattle and these old photos…it’s amazing these homes have been around so long. Actually, not so long when you compare it the East Coast…as Ardell would know!

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  6. Your house doesn’t have to be that old. I ordered a picture from the King County archives over in Bellevue for our house built in 1946 in Shoreline. It has a sweet picture with a car in the foreground with the 1951 license plate in clear view.

    They’ve moved things around a bit, and can’t quite find my link, but I didn’t want owners of “newer” homes to be discouraged.

  7. This is indeed a great resource. If you live in the city of Seattle, and your house was built before the 1970s, they should have a photo.

    We purchased photos of our last house (with photo of early 1930s auto) and our current one. We got the photos partly out of curiosity and partly to help guide us with some exterior remodeling. When we sold our last house, our agent put the photo out on display with the flyers and our handout on the renovations we had done. When we moved into our new house, our agent got us a framed photo, which we have displayed in our living room.

    The property info is also fascinating. Our current house came with an info sheet with sales data going back to the 1950s (our house was built in 1927). The sales data is a great historical snapshot. For instance, one past owner purchased the house in 1963 and sold in 1971 — he sold it for less than he paid for it. This brings up the question of what was happening in Seattle at that time (first Boeing bust perhaps?) that would cause someone to lose money on a home they had owned for 8 years.

    That 8×10 of our current house we have will come in handy in a couple of years when we rebuild our detached garage; the photo has a great view of what the garage originally looked like.

  8. Hey Rhonda,

    Great post!! 🙂 I’m curious how the state/county/city came to photograph these houses in the first place? Was it done in conjuction with property tax assessments, perhaps?

  9. I believe these photos were part of the “New Deal” back in the 30’s to create jobs and to document every structure that was in Seattle at that time. Maybe a RCG reader can confirm this?
    If you buy the records (a bargin for less than a buck, I believe) they do provide square footage, tax records, remodeling info…etc.

    This property happens to be in West Seattle.

  10. Rhonda,

    I sent the email for my 1921in Kirkland. Is that “the process”? What is the email supposed to say? What does it cost and whom do you pay?

    I’m a little confused about the particulars of “getting” it.

  11. I bought a photo of my home a few months ago and framed it. These photos were indeed part of The New Deal program. The hand written appraisal reports are a pretty interesting read and worth the money alone. The reports we got on our house dated from 1907 to the 1980s, pretty cool stuff.

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  14. We just sold our home and our realtor recommended to leave the photo from Rain City out for all interested buyers to see.
    We sold our house within three days. The only request the buyer had was that we leave the old picture of our home in the house.

    I believe this photo helped us sell our home for the full asking price!!!

  15. Kasha, that is very cool! I think the old photos make you feel sentimental (even if we didn’t live in the home at that time). We’ll probably include a photo of this home when we ever sell it!

  16. As a builder/remodeler in the Ballard area, I am glad to see that a lot of folks have these pictures. I am currently remodeling the exterior of my house by returning it to what it was in the 1930’s picture.

    Eric Clark
    Clark Construction

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