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Originally published November 29, 2013 at 10:04 AM | Page modified November 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM

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Capturing ‘Lost Seattle’

Author Rob Ketcherside has chosen his subjects well for his polished hardback, and orders them by decades, beginning with the effects of the Great Fire of 1889.

Special to The Seattle Times

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ON A RECENT autumn afternoon, Jean Sherrard joined author Rob Ketcherside on the roof of the Alaska Building to repeat the ca. 1904 subject that Ketcherside has placed on the front cover of his first book, the new “Lost Seattle.”

What has been lost here? Jean Sherrard’s look west from the top of Seattle’s first skyscraper (1904) is missing most of the long wall of brick structures that in the decade after the city’s Great Fire of 1889 were squeezed along the east side of First Avenue to both sides of Cherry Street. Surely many Pacific NW magazine readers will remember when these ornate brick beauties were replaced with the big buff parking garage, showing here on the right.

It could make you nostalgic. And surely his London publisher is counting on those feelings being tapped in its series on lost cities (including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and many others). It works. Ketcherside has chosen his subjects well for this polished hardback, and orders them by decades, beginning with the effects of that “great fire” in 1889.

The new book’s subjects are a mix of local classics and the author’s favorites. For instance, Ketcherside’s sidewalk display of Seattle’s old street clocks is a refined pleasure and, again, not a little nostalgic. (Surely many of you readers could be of help with the author’s continuing research on the subject of these “pedestal clockworks.” Readers with pictures of street clocks and/or stories to share may contact him at

Besides working full time managing programs and programmers for a computer-services company, and raising a family, Ketcherside has taken an active roll in the local heritage community. He is an appointed member of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board and continues his research and writing. Let’s support him and find his “Lost Seattle” (Pavilion, $14.40).

Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at

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