Discovering the unique spots and oft-ignored spaces around Seattle is much easier with a good guide. From the Fifth Avenue Theater to the mansions of Capitol Hill...

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Name: Gary Fuller.




Hometown:
Born in Bothell, now claims Seattle as his home.


Affiliation: Volunteer tour-guide for Seattle Architectural Foundation; also works as an accountant at Two Downtown Ltd., an event-design firm.


How long he has been involved: Fuller has been giving tours around Seattle for about 8 years.


Favorite Seattle building: The Seattle Tower, formerly the Northern Life Tower, at 1212 Third Ave. “It’s Northwest meets Art Deco,” said Fuller. He especially enjoys the lobby, which is designed to look like a cave — a cave covered in gold leaf.


His story: Discovering the unique spots and oft-ignored spaces around Seattle is much easier with a good guide.


From the Fifth Avenue Theater to the mansions of Capitol Hill, Gary Fuller can show just about anyone around town.


Though not an architect, this accountant-turned-sociologist is an aficionado of Seattle’s buildings and their stories. Looking beyond the number of floors in the skyscrapers, Fuller searches for the tales lurking under their facades.


“Every building has a story and you can learn the story by looking at the building,” said Fuller. “Sometimes the building tells you what it is, whether it’s an office building or a skyscraper … the more you read into that building the more you learn about the people who created the building, lived in the building.”














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Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry Walking Tours:


“Journey to Seattle’s Eden,” a walking tour through Foster Island and Washington Park Arboretum, is July 3 at 11 a.m.


• “Take Me To (and from) The Fair: The Historic Seattle Monorail,” includes behind-the-scenes looks and a private, narrated ride aboard the 1962 monorail (while it’s still operating). July 10 at 11 a.m.


• “Meet Me in Pioneer Square,” with MOHAI’s director, Leonard Garfield, tours Seattle’s vintage neighborhood July 31 at 11 a.m.


• “Native Histories of Salmon Bay and the Locks,” with historian Coll Thrush at the Ballard Locks, is Aug. 7 at 11 a.m.


Each walk is $20 ($15 for museum members) if you preregister: 206-324-1126. A complete schedule, with more summer walks: www.seattlehistory.org



Fuller is a big fan of Seattle’s theaters. The Paramount Theatre, the 5th Avenue Theatre and the ACT Theatre top the tours he leads for the Seattle Architectural Foundation’s “On With the Show — Historic Theatres” walk.


“My passion has become theaters,” said Fuller, who began giving tours specifically for the Paramount Theatre along with his tours for the architectural foundation.


During an outing, Fuller frequently asks residents to open their private homes and gardens to the group to share the history of their dwelling. The properties toured change each trek as different homeowners open their doors.


“There’s so much history in their homes that they know they should share it with others,” said Fuller.


Sometimes he comes up with the unexpected. He’s visited a home in which the former inhabitant left 50-year-old newspapers and magazines in an upstairs bathroom.


“It was almost as if someone had just left them up there yesterday,” said Fuller, after viewing some.


By visiting the skyscrapers that create Seattle’s skyline or a tucked-away bungalow in the Wallingford District, Fuller believes the tour helps Seattleites appreciate their everyday surroundings.


His summer event: Seattle Architectural Foundation’s Walking Tours are conducted now through Oct. 16. Most tours are on Saturdays, times and sites vary; $10-$20. The foundation’s office is at 1333 Fifth Ave., Suite 300, Seattle. More information: 206-667-9184 or www.seattlearchitectural.org


— Jennifer Lloyd, staff reporter