This panorama of Seattle's future Central Business District was photographed in 1886. So many delicate towers...

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If I have figured correctly, this panorama of Seattle’s future Central Business District was photographed in 1886. So many delicate towers and facades appear in this record that one could, after more study, probably narrow the date to within a month or two. But for now, we’ll stick to what we can see:

A thumbnail orientation of the scene starts on the far right with Columbia Street and moves left to Central School, at Sixth and Madison, the highest structure on the horizon (with the bell tower); the Fry Opera House at the northeast corner of First Avenue (Front Street) and Marion Street, the large structure with central tower at the scene’s center; the University of Washington main building with its tower escaping the horizon at the northeast corner of Seneca and Fourth Avenue, and an early Colman Dock, reaching into the bay.

The implied part in this panorama by the photographer George Moore is his perch, Yesler Wharf. Its dog-leg end turned far north into the bay and, besides providing a prospect for photographers, gave John Colman, the builder of Colman Dock, an obstruction to sue over. The “Great Fire” of 1889 would solve the problem.

Two 1886 events worth note:

The Puget Sound Yacht Club was organized and ran its first cup race out of the Budlong Boathouse, at center, a sailboat tied to its south side. Anti-Chinese riots in February created tension throughout the year. The future Seattle Judge Everett Smith was scouting Seattle at the time and wrote home to his brother: “Don’t show this letter out of the family. The city is disgraced enough as it is.”

“Washington Then and Now,” by Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard, can be purchased through ($45) or through Tartu Publications at P.O. Box 85208, Seattle, WA 98145.