Downtown Seattle in Black and White

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge I thought I’d take you on a tour of downtown Seattle with a little history on the way. Use the slider to view the image in both color, and black and white.

My first job downtown was next door to the tallest building in town at the time. Then called the Seafirst Bank Building it was also known as ‘the box the Space Needle came in.’ I think some folks believed it.

Later on I worked near another monolith – the Columbia Center – at 933 feet and 76 stories, still the tallest in Seattle.

But the earliest record holder for tallest Seattle skyscraper was the Smith Tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi when built in 1914. I remember taking the bus downtown when I was a kid and paying 35 cents to the bellhop to ride the elevator to the top.

It’s still the most iconic of Seattle’s skyscrapers though it’s clearly dwarfed by it neighbors in the skyline.


The Amazon spheres appeared much later downtown as the company gobbled up real estate in South Lake Union.

Their new buildings created a canyon through which to view the Space Needle in the distance.

Finally I’ll close with scenes from the Pike Place Market, opened in 1907 and a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

Mostly I prefer a Seattle in color but it was fun to experiment with black and white.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.

~ Susanne

27 Comments on “Downtown Seattle in Black and White

  1. I can tell that I haven’t been to Seattle in a very very long time as I see those photos. I would guess my last visit was around 1979.

    • Welcome back! πŸ™‚ I too was surprised when I visited the South Lake Union area and it was totally transformed. But there is still much the same, especially the Smith Tower and Pike Place Market.

  2. Great photos, Susanne. For once I actually think all these shots work really well in color and B&W. Nocely done.

  3. I like seeing both the color and the B&W version of the same picture. You got some great shots there! Especially liked the ones of Pike Place.

  4. Nice ‘trick’ with the Block Editor gizmo. πŸ™‚ As much as I love B&W photos, I surprised myself by preferring the colour shots of the city.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Thanks Pete. It’s fun to try some of the block editor features. That was the Image Compare Block and very easy to use. I preferred the color shots too. Except maybe the skyline with the tiny Smith Tower and the fishmongers at the Market. πŸ™‚

  5. Great use of the image compare block. In some cases I preferred the colour version, in others the B&W πŸ™‚ I remember on our visit we considered going up the Smith Tower but it seemed very expensive – a lot more than the 35c you paid!!

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I was surprised even then we had to pay! I only went up one other time a few years ago for a retirement party. The views are great, but the best views are from the Columbia Center!

  6. So cool! I’ve always loved black and white photos. Since I grew up in a town where the tallest building was a two story house, I shuddered at the thought of you going up to the top of the Smith Tower in an elevator as a child! The one with the Space Needle in the background looks like something out of β€œWar of the Worlds”, especially in black and white! πŸ˜€

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I think I was in 4th grade when a friend and I went downtown to visit the Smith Tower on our own. Believe it or not we also stopped by the Courthouse which is nearby to sit in a courtroom, both my mom’s idea for something to do! A different era!

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