Community Post

Old house photos now available from county website – share yours

The county has made some really cool upgrades to their property website, and have added historic photos for a lot of houses and other buildings in the area.

Here’s a cool one we found a few blocks away from CDNews World HQ. Unfortunately, the house on the left with the tower didn’t survive the intervening years:

Here’s how to find yours:

1.  Go to the county Parcel Viewer website:

2.  Click Search By Address, enter your address, click submit:


3. Click the “Get Your Property Report” near the bottom left of the screen 

4. Click the red “Property Detail” button at the top of the page: 

5. Scroll to the middle of the next page, click the camera icon next to the text “Click the camera to see more pictures” (note: not all properties have photos, so this may not show up on some)

6. Right-click on the photos you want to download and save them to your computer

Find some cool ones? Use one of our new features and include it in a comment below. You must be logged in to an account, click the photo link under the comment text field, attach your photo, and upload it to the site.


0 thoughts on “Old house photos now available from county website – share yours

  1. Very cool, thanks. I was a bit bummed when I loaded up my home and found a picture of my neighbors house instead of my own but the other pictures are accurate and I’m loving this vintage pic!

  2. We got one right after we bought our house. We used it to restore a lot of the details that had been stripped off over the years. The oldest photo of ours house isn’t the one online…. the one from the 30’s or 40’s is pretty horrid… house all covered in insulbrick. Glad that was stripped off before we ever saw it.

    From the photos it does seem like this neighborhood really suffered during the depression years. The cool turreted house in the photo above looks pretty abandoned and broken down.

  3. This was a few years ago, but I found a site (maybe on this blog) that had a much larger set of pre WWII house photos. I believe that the archive is owned by the UW, but you can go to Bellevue College (formerly BCC)and they have an office where you can order prints. My house has weathered the last century fairly well, but it’s fun to see what some of the neighbor’s home looked like, prior to the architectural butchery of the 40s and 50s. :)

  4. Isn’t the new Parcel Viewer site great? There are some other really neat things you can do with it, too:

    If you want to tour the neighborhood, you don’t have to search by address. You can use the zoom tools to focus on a few blocks, then use the “identify” tool to select any parcel pictured. I was able to find a photo of my house this way, even though there wasn’t one in the record for my parcel. The photo of the house across the street showed mine in the background!

    You can also use the Parcel Viewer to find original plat maps of the neighborhood. From the “Property Report” screen, click “Scanned Images of Plats” (on the bottom right, under “Reference Links.”). Look for the one with the oldest date. This will give you street names and property owners when the area was first platted. Turns out I live at the corner of Gould and Windon!

    Finally, if you really want to go nuts with this stuff, check out our new guide on researching the history of Seattle buildings: Everything you ever wanted to know about finding historic photos, property owners, residents, land records, and more.

    Bo Kinney
    Hugh and Jane Ferguson Seattle Room
    The Seattle Public Library

  5. We ordered a copy of ours from the County last year when we bought our house. Our home was built in 1915 and the County said they had one from 1937 and another from the 1960s on file. We bought the older one and have it framed in our living room; beautiful.

    However online now is just a newer one from when it was remodeled in 2005 and another shot, post the 1937 one, but still pretty old (parcel number is written on the photo) – the house looks more run down than it had in the other one and the shingle siding had been replaced with what appears to be aluminum, so I’m guessing late 1940s or early 50s. The 1937 and the 1960s images aren’t up there at all.

    Thanks for sharing this. What a great neighborhood we live in! :)

  6. On second thought, maybe that photo is the one from the 60s, although it looks quite a bit older. Either way, my house looks worse for wear in that one; I am glad to see it looking happier again.

  7. we’ve been slowly remodeling our house and I’m SO happy to find this old photo :) I’m excited to find out more.

  8. This is cool, though we did get an even older photo from the public archives when we bought our house. However, the current info listed for my house is incorrect (and has been for at least 10 years; the square footage is 800 feet off and it says the house is a duplex, which it’s not). Is there a way to submit corrections? Or would that just drive my property taxes up, and I’d be better off keeping quiet? :)

  9. Thanks, Scott. I tried to follow the directions at the link you posted, but the link they reference on that page doesn’t exist on my property report. So I guess I will continue to live in a duplex-that-isn’t-a-duplex (the issue came up recently when I refinanced which is what makes me interested in fixing it).