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These Seattle Underground Tunnels Will Bring Out the Explorer in You



A lot of people may not be aware that the current Seattle, Washington is built on top of an old Seattle, Washington. There are Seattle underground tunnels that are still intact and show the original city of Seattle revealing how it was in the mid-19th century.

This was street level in the mid-1800's - Photo courtesy of Bill Spiedel's Underground Tour
This was street level in the mid-1800’s – Photo courtesy of Bill Spiedel’s Underground Tour

What Happened to the First City of Seattle?

On June 6, 1889 at 2:39 in the afternoon, the Great Seattle Fire began. It destroyed 31 blocks in fact. It all started because of a cabinetmaker named Jonathan Edward Back accidentally overturned and ignited a glue pot. He attempted to extinguish it with water but spread the burning grease-based glue around instead. The fire chief was out of town and the volunteer fire department wasn’t able to save much.

The start of the Great Seattle Fire
The start of the Great Seattle Fire

Instead of building the buildings out of wood like before, the city decided to use brick and mortar to prevent future fires. They also regraded the streets one to two stories higher than the first streets.

Now You Can Tour the Old Seattle

Today a very famous tour called Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour offers the chance to tour the first level remains of the Seattle underground tunnels. The tour began as a dream in 1954 and today is an extremely popular tourist attraction.

Bill Spiedel's Underground tour underway with tourists.
Bill Spiedel’s Underground tour underway with tourists.
An old lounge chair on the first level underground. - Photo by Wayne Hsieh
An old lounge chair on the first level underground. – Photo by Wayne Hsieh

Here is an excellent video of an almost complete tour of the Seattle Underground Tunnels:


Alas! With almost every tragedy comes rumors of paranormal activity. Before the underground tunnels were made into a popular tour, they housed heroin junkies, prostitutes, murderers, and homeless people. With such a dark history there is bound to be some scary paranormal occurrences or at least rumors of them. 

Two popular paranormal hot spots at this historic area are a former prostitute hangout as well as a bank vault. Some feel that the ghostly voices heard here are simply normal sounds coming down from the street level, but others maintain that spirits from the past linger in this subterranean labyrinth.

Seattle Underground Tour
Seattle Underground Tour

The popular television show “Ghost Hunters” sought this location out for investigation due to all these rumors and the Seattle underground tunnels’ dark history.

Here are a couple of ghost hunting videos uploaded to YouTube of investigators taking on the Seattle underground tunnels.



John Ghost is a professional writer and SEO director. He graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in English (Writing, Rhetorics, and Literacies). As he prepares for graduate school to become an English professor, he writes weird fiction, plays his guitars, and enjoys spending time with his wife and daughters. He lives in the Valley of the Sun.