Seattle Guide: Tours- Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour

I have done Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour numerous times and it honestly never gets old. Every time friends or family visit, we head here for a walking tour full of history and intrigue.

Every guide I have had has been amazing- animated, and hilarious- there is no doubt you will laugh out loud. Our most recent guide was a woman, I believe Serena (I can’t be 100% sure that was it but it did start with an S and sounded somewhat mysterious). She was exceptional- so if you’re reading this, “Bravo”- and hopefully you will get her next time too!

The tour takes you below the current street level- which is really the historical street level’s second story. It is fascinating to hear about the chaos that was Seattle’s early development- especially when they realized something had to be done when the “new” indoor toilets shot up geysers of filth, every day; twice a day (due to the tides), for a few YEARS before they actually came up with a plan to address this! Oh, and that the main sewer pipe for the city was made of wood- and 6 inches wide.

The tour is fascinating and a tad spooky as you climb up and down through buildings and alleys and even end up under the sidewalk, which is still decorated in glass tiles- tiles you’d never really think much about when you’re stepping on them. You’d never know there might be people below, looking up at the feet of busy city dwellers passing overhead…

Seattle is the site of the original Skid Row- where the “seamstresses” lived and worked. Learning how important these working ladies were in the establishment of the city is fascinating- and under-celebrated. The original Seattle Madam went by the business name, Lou Graham– who funded the start-up of numerous businesses in the area, which later established the fortunes of many notable families in this area’s history. Bill Speidel noted in his book, “Sons of Profits”, “More business was transacted at Lou’s than City Hall”. This lady of the night was a mover and shaker in more ways than one!

This 75-minute tour will keep you in stitches and captivated from the first minute to the last- and is a must do for anyone visiting the area. It is mostly indoors so you can do it in any season or weather condition- which is particularly beneficial considering the bipolar weather we can have multiple times a day here.

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