The essential local historian Paul Dorpat and photographer Jean Sherrard have a new book coming out in October highlighting, with color photography, some of the best of their long-running “Seattle Now and Then” columns in the Seattle Times. I’ve seen advance galleys of the book and it’s spectacular. Dorpat and Sherrard contrast past and current images to tell stories about how the city has changed, or not. It’s fascinating, moving, dynamic, yet never nostalgic. Inspired by this, I decided to try my hand — without photography — with some quick impressions of life and culture in Seattle past and present. I’d be happy to hear your “Then and Now” musings too.
Then: Loved shopping downtown at Fredrick & Nelson
Now: Bed Bath and Beyond leaving Belltown!
Then: White people moved to Bellevue because of a racist fear of Black people
Now: White people buy Black-owned homes in CD, put up Black Lives Matter Signs
Then: Had modest cabin getaway on Hood Canal
Now: Have 2nd home chateau on Lake Chelan
Then: Fix Mercer Mess
Now: Fix the “Late 8”
Then: Lesser Seattle
Then: Ruby Chow’s for Chinese
Now: Uber Eats for Chinese
Then: Ballard Lutefisk
Now: Ballard microbrews
Then: The economic collapse of 1893, the Great Depression, Boeing Recession, Dot.com bust, Great Recession
Now: Median Seattle area home price stalls after topping $800K
Then: Seattle General Strike of 1919
Now: Rolling back Amazon head tax
Then: Eating cheap salmon regularly
Now: Resident Orcas are starving
Then: Worried about oil spills on Puget Sound
Now: Banning plastic straws
Then: Addicted to Frango chocolates
Now: Taxing soda pop
Then: Built the Lake Washington Ship Canal
Now: Trying to buy buses that don’t exist
Then: Seeing Mariners at Safeco Field
Now: Seeing Pearl Jam at Safeco Field
Then: Building Safeco Field with public money to save the Mariners
Now: We’re not paying for a new roof!
Then: Rebuild Seattle with bricks to avoid fire
Now: Tear down brick buildings before Big One hits
Then: Bill Gates, richest man in world
Now: Jeff Bezos, richest man in world
Then: Cheap parking downtown
Now: Tent cities everywhere
Then: Mercer Island floating bridge a world wonder
Now: Amazon’s Spheres
Then: Comfortable Nordstrom shoes
Now: Hygge lifestyle
Then: Save the Market!
Now: Save the Showbox!
Then: Left town in August to avoid Blue Angels noise.
Now: Leave town in August in order to breathe.