“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
Seattle was founded in 1852 on tidal flats, in an area now called Pioneer Square. In 1889 the mostly low wooden buildings built were devastated by fire. By decree new buildings were constructed of stone or brick, and "street level" was raised one or two stories higher. The neighborhood was rebuilt atop the old ruins, which remained buried and mostly forgotten—until 1965, when promoter Bill Speidel established Seattle's Underground Tour. Speidel and others helped revitalize Pioneer Square in the 1970s and succeeded in having much of the neighborhood designated a historic district. Today the area is quite pedestrian-friendly and its Romanesque Victorian architecture is key to the district's charm. The Pioneer Square neighborhood is home to upscale art galleries and studios, antique shops, sports bars, cafés and bookstores.