Nerd Report: New Illustrated Atlas Traces Seattle's Physical Evolution


Turns out Google Maps can’t, in fact, do everything. Case in point: It can’t bring the past alive via wonderful illustrated maps—some more than a century old—like the Historical Atlas of Washington and Oregon (University of California Press; $39.95), published this month.

Noted historian Derek Hayes, author of several other historical atlases, packs this big, beautiful book with 550 fascinating maps and illustrations tracing the evolution of the Northwest from scrappy port towns to bustling cities.

Augmented with photos and graphics documenting events that altered Seattle’s landscape—such as the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the massive Denny regrade, the carving of the Ballard and Montlake cuts, and the 1962 World’s Fair—the atlas imparts a hint of our city’s future and a thrilling sense of where we’ve been.


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A note from the editor

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The West Seattle Bridge may not be open until 2021; the Farmers Markets are starting to come back, and the Tulip festival would like you to stay home, please. All the news you missed in between reading about coronavirus.