Seattle streets have a lot of history considering many of them have been around since the 1850s. Between the underground city, earthquakes, and the city’s never-ending growth our roads have had lots of facelifts. So if you’re ever driving or walking and see a patch of bricks peeking through, you’re getting a direct glimpse into the past.
In several neighborhoods across the city, most notably Ballard and Capitol Hill you’ll still find brick-lined streets. They’re beautiful but definitely not the most pleasant to drive on. And that’s what make’s Seattle’s downtown streets a little more unique. They’re actually brick but the city has paved over them with asphalt for cars.
did you know most of seattle’s downtown streets are actually brick? we paved over them with asphalt for cars pic.twitter.com/gbjzGMUU6c
— Pushing The Needle (@pushtheneedle) February 11, 2022
While it may seem like a bit of a no-brainer for a city from the 1800s it gets cooler. Because it turns out that Washington’s Denny-Renton Clay & Coal Company, which produced those bricks, was actually once one of the largest brick producers in the world. In 1912 “the plant was burning 180,000 bricks per day” creating more than enough bricks to fuel Downtown Seattle’s ever-growing streets.
It’s unclear when the city of Seattle started to pave over the brick or cobblestone streets but the good news is that Seattle has 50 designated historic cobblestone or brick streets. So be sure to keep your eyes peeled next time you’re out and about downtown because you might just see a brick or two.