Share story

HERE IS an opportunity for readers to enjoy our deeply human urge to play hide and seek. What is made of bricks and tiles in the “then” panorama may still be discovered beside or behind the grand expanse of glass rising so high in the “now.” You may wish to start with the Smith Tower. Only a slice of that 1914 landmark can be found far down Second Avenue on the right.

Both views were photographed from the Space Needle. The historical photographer made a Kodachrome slide in 1962 when the Space Needle was new. Jean Sherrard recorded his digital repeat late this past February, on a perfect day for photography when that winter light with its soft shadows is so forgiving and revealing.

In the upper-right corner of Sherrard’s repeat, a crisp Mount Rainier reflects the afternoon sun so that the name, “The Mountain that was God,” seems most appropriate. When Seattle and Tacoma were still arguing whether it should be named Mount Rainier or Mount Tacoma, this sublime substitute was used, in part, to transcend the promotional rancor between the two cities.

For the more ancient among us, the 1962 panorama may conjure memories of The Seattle Times’ now long-passed columnist Emmett Watson’s campaign for a “Lesser Seattle.” Watson, with the help of rain and this modest skyline, hoped to discourage Californians from visiting, or worse, staying in Seattle. This was the Central Business District before major leagues, digital commerce, grunge and acres of tinted glass curtains.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

Seek and you may still find the Seattle Tower (1928), the Medical Dental Building (1925), and the Roosevelt Hotel (1929).

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at