Found, Historic 1927 Map To Seattle Garage Mentions ‘Hi-Line Highway’


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BTB Reader Rob Ketcherside sent us an email Tuesday, along with a photo of a recent historic find he made that references the “Hi-Line Highway” to Burien.

It’s a map printed in 1927 to promote the “Times Square Garage,” located at 6th and Olive in downtown Seattle. “Times Square” was the name given to the area at 5th, Westlake, Olive, Stewart and 6th, and apparently this garage is still operating.

Here’s a pic, along with Rob’s thoughts on it:

1927 Seattle Highway Map with front and back cover

This map folds out to reveal the 1927 Washington State Highway Map.

I nearly giggled like a little girl when I found this at an antique store last weekend.

The map was published for Times Square Garage, “Your Auto Home” at 6th and Olive in Seattle. Times Square was the name of the area at 5th, Westlake, Olive, Stewart, and 6th, and the district stretching north a bit from there.

At the bottom of the map you can see a road labeled "From Tacoma (hi-line)."

I don’t know what’s more amazing to me. Think about this. In 1909, the nation was enraptured by the race from NY to Seattle on muddy roads. Not even 20 years later AAA could make a map of highways in Washington State. And Seattle had a seven-story parking garage. Both facts are astonishing.

That parking garage was built sturdy in 1925, and you can still park in it today. It’s gotta be one of the oldest continuous use parking garages in the world, doesn’t it? I’m only sad that they’ve covered up the old clock added in the 50s.

The list of attractions includes a “Frozen Fish Aquarium”, and humorously it says which streetcar line to take to each point of interest. I guess the longer you park your car, the more money they make!

Even better than all of that… look at the roads! The route to Vancouver was over the University Bridge. No 99, no I-5. And of the two roads to Tacoma, the one along 1st Avenue is subtitled “hi-line”. Well now. Hi-line, or Highline, of course is the name for the Burien and White Center area. And in the 1970s, local history tome Our Burien and many other sources, the story goes that “Hi-line” was a nickname for the streetcar to Burien, which was intended to go to Tacoma and be an alternate to the Interurban. That never made sense to me, because I’ve found no evidence that the streetcar was supposed to go any farther than Burien. What if, then, the name instead comes from the old brick highway which became Des Moines Memorial Way?

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2 Responses to “Found, Historic 1927 Map To Seattle Garage Mentions ‘Hi-Line Highway’”
  1. Cyndi Upthegrove says:

    My understanding is that before Des Moines Memorial Drive stopped in Des Moines, it was intended to go all the way to Tacoma. However, before it was finished, it was superceded in the early ’30’s by the development of Hwy 99, which had federal dollars behind its construction to go all the way to Mexico. And so there would have been the Valley route (low-line, as it were) and the hi-line route – two roads to Tacoma. High-line got its name as representing THAT alternative to using the valley to get around. Historical Society records show that for many years, Burien settlers walked down to Tukwila to get on the train or onto the river to get into town. So the road up here would have been referred to as the high line.

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