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"Something That Is Required By Every Resident of Seattle" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

The second earliest large format map of Seattle, published by Sylvanus C. Harris and printed by Bancroft Lith. in San Francisco.

Compiled by Harris, who at the time was "Auditor of King County," at a reported cost of $1,500, the map was issued two years before the first Street Car Line in Seattle in 1884, showing only the earliest railroad links to the waterfront.  The map provides a fine depiction of the various subdivisions of the growing city, coming 7 years after Harris's first map of Seattle, published in 1875, shown here:

First advertised for sale in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on April 27, 1882, the map was described as:

A PERFECT COMPENDIUM OF Information on Seattle real estate, desirable and useful to every citizen who has a dollars' worth of interest in the community, is now offered for sale at the unprecendently low price of. 


This map has cost the compiler over $1500, allowing nothing for his labor, and is invaluable not only to real estate dealers, but to every one who owns a lot in the city.  It differs in its superiority from all other maps, giving the number of every lot within the city and contiguous thererto.  Having been compiled from original surveys, it is therefore accurate; and as there is only a limited number of these maps, it is hoped the public will give their orders at once to Mr. Pitt, who is my authorized agent for the sale of same.

S.C. Harris, Auditor of King County.

Among the more notable changes to the waterfront is the Dearborn Second Addition, which had created nearly 20 square blocks of additional land along the waterfront, south of the major wharfs and piers.  The southern boundary of the city limits at Atlantic Street was approximately 0.2 miles north of the C.P. Dose and Fricke Bros. Lake Washington parcels. In 1883, the City annexed the land area between Atlantic Street and Hanford Street including all of the shore land parcels along Lake Washington then owned by C.P. Dose, his partners and the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad Company. 

The map provides an exceptional historical overview of the development of Seattle, including identifying the lands claimed by its earliest settlers, including DS Maynard and Carson Boren. Arthur A. Denny's name appears prominently in he north part of the City, along with the lands of T. Mercer, William Bell, Sarah Bell, Henry L. Yesler, Sarah B. Yesler, John C. Holgate, John H. Nagle and Edward Hanford.

The "clash of grids" which resulted from the two early competing town sites is also evident on the map. Along the waterfront, major business include:

  • Seattle Lumber & Commercial Co.
  • North Pacific Steam Brewery
  • Mitchell's Marine Ways
  • Pacific Coast S.S. Co.
  • Yesler's Saw Mill
  • Schwabacher Bros & Co.
  • Harrington & Smith
  • John H. Marshall & Co.
  • D.A. Jennings
  • Squire's Wharf
  • Seattle Coat & T. Co.
  • Stetson & Post Sash Door & Lumber Co.
  • Hail Paulson & Co. Furniture Mfg. Co.
  • Columbia & Puget Sound Lumbering Co. Mill 
  • Mattullach Manufacturing Co.
  • Barrell Factory  

Other businesses located include the Evening Chronicle, Post Intelligencer Publishing Co. Puget Sound Iron Works, Flouring Mills, New England Hotel, Minnesota Hotel, Arlington Hotel, Tenny Frink Iron Works, Columbia Hotel and others.

The County Building, County Jail and Post Office appear east of Yesler's Saw Mill on An area in the north is designated as University Grounds, with a second area in the south called College Grounds.

Sylvanus C. Harris was apparently quite active in the region.  In October. 1869, George W. and Sylvanus C. Harris bought the Pioneer Drug Store from Dr. S. G. Calhoun.  Harris drafted the first Official Map of Seattle in 1875 and also drafted the first map of Union City, which was formalized on December 6, 1870.  W also note him making maps in the Skagit mining district circa 1880.


The founding of Seattle dates back to the arrival of the Denny Party on November 13, 1851, at Alki Point. The party had traveled from the Midwest to Portland, Oregon, then up the Pacific coast into Puget Sound, with the express intent of founding a town. The following April, Arthur A. Denny abandoned the original site at Alki in favor of a better-protected site on Elliott Bay, near the south end of what is now downtown Seattle. Around the same time, Doc Maynard began settling the land immediately south of Denny's townsite. The first plats for Seattle were filed on May 23, 1853.

Nominal legal land settlement was provisionally established in 1855 (with treaty terms for what is now Seattle not implemented). Doc Maynard's land claim lay south of today's Yesler Way, encompassing most of today's Pioneer Square Historical District and the International District. He based his street grid on strict compass bearings. The more northerly plats of Arthur A. Denny and Carson D. Boren encompassed Pioneer Square north of what is now Yesler Way; the heart of the current downtown; and the western slope of First Hill. These had street grids that more or less followed the shoreline. The downtown grid from Yesler Way north to Stewart Street is oriented 32 degrees west of north; from Stewart north to Denny Way the orientation is 49 degrees west of north. The result is a tangle of streets where the grids clash.

Seattle and Alki would grow as competing cities, although in the early days, there were less than 8 blocks of flat usable land in Seattle. However, the arrival of Henry Yesler and his establishment of a lumber mill between the Denny and Maynard grids established Seattle as the primary hub in the area.

The town would grow slowly for the next 20 years. On July 14, 1873, the Northern Pacific Railway selected Tacoma over Seattle as the Western terminus of their transcontinental railroad. The railroad barons appear to have been gambling on the advantage they could gain from being able to buy up the land around their terminus cheaply instead of bringing the railroad into a more established Pacific port town.

The citizens of Seattle chartered their own railroad, the Seattle & Walla Walla, to link with the Union Pacific Railroad in eastern Washington. The S&WW never got beyond Renton, but that was far enough to connect with new coal mines, fueling industry in Seattle.


OCLC locates 2 examples of the map (Bancroft Library and University of Minnesota).  We note also an entry in Philips, suggesting that as of 1901, the Library of Congress owned a copy.  We also located several references to the map in land use applications prepared in recent decades, suggesting that a copy of the map exists in the City of Seattle archives or some related governmental entity or title company.

This is our second example of the map, both of which had the slightly different paper tonality.

Condition Description
Two sheets joined and laid on archival poster linen. Slight difference in the color of the two sheets, as issued.