Seattle History and the Underground Tour

Last week my family was in town and we went on the Seattle Underground Tour. This was my first time going on the tour and I must say it was well worth it! You don’t get to see all too much, but the tour guides are excellent (quite humorous too) and tell a great story about Seattle’s history. I shouldn’t tell too much or I’ll give away the tour and Bill Speidel’s books. When Seattle was first settled (it was actually going to be part of Canada) the founding fathers had no idea what to do with human waste that they actually built one wooden pipe to bring the waste from the high hills down through downtown Seattle and out to the sound. This obviously was not going to work and with the tides downtown Seattle (working district) was covered in shit throughout the day, a huge health problem causing dysentery and explosive diarrhea. A young apprentice from Sweden ended up setting fire to his building and it spread like rapid fire taking the whole city down with it. Seattle, named after Chief Seattle, took this as an opportunity to rebuild their city and resolve the waste problem, except they did not have all the funding to finish the project at that time. What is known as Underground Seattle still exists today since the city was raised 15-35 feet above the natural ground level and not filled in, unless it has become unsound throughout the years. There are also now 5-6 sea walls to protect the land from the sound.

I was really interested in the book our tour guide talked about about history of disease in Seattle, but couldn’t remember the name of it nor could I find it in the Underground Tour’s shop. It had a 3 word name. If you know of this book, let me know. I’d love to read it!



  1. Christina · November 2, 2012

    Hi, Mary! I came across your blog post and wanted to let you know the name of the book: it’s called “Sons of the Profits.” The second book upon which the tour is based is called “Doc Maynard: The Man Who Invented Seattle.” Both of them are available on Amazon and in our gift shop (though I’ll let those guys know you had trouble finding the books!).

    Thanks for joining us and for writing about the experience!

    • Mary Maggee · November 3, 2012

      Hi Christina!

      I remembered and found those 2 books but my tour guide mentioned one other one that was something like “something, something, and plague” maybe? Does that ring any bells? It sounded interesting.


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