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Rush Hour Traffic Seattle, Washington Late-1950s

This late-1950s image was taken during either the morning or evening rush hour on a gloomy day in Seattle, Washington. The photo was originally quite a bit darker and all of the signs and street lights were lit, although we took the liberty of lightening it up a bit to be able to see more of the details in the shadows.

The Blackstock Lumber Co. building visible on the far left of the picture was established in 1912 and the property was sold recently after the Company closed. The Lumber store location apparently was at 1039 Elliot Ave. West which is about three miles northwest of the center of the City in the West Queen Ann neighborhood.

Share with us what you find of interest in this photo posted by Jeremy Steuber at Hemmings Daily.

15 responses to “Rush Hour Traffic Seattle, Washington Late-1950s

  1. Up front a ’53 Plymouth Cranbrook sedan beside a possible ’60 Dodge Dart Seneca or Plymouth Savoy 2-door sedan, a ’53 Olds 88 Sedan, a ’51 Chevy and a ’58 Chrysler Windsor Sedan.

    Past the ’60 Ford in the median that AML spotted, a ’54 Mercury Monterey and in the distance, a ’57 Fairlane 500.

    • The ’53 Olds is a rather rare Deluxe 88 model, lacking the diagonal chrome trim and “88” badge on the rear fender that marked the much more popular Super 88. The Deluxe 88 was available only as a two-door or four-door sedan. It’s surprising to see the low price model outfitted with a sun visor, especially in rainy Seattle.

  2. The rear quarters of the Oldsmobile protruding behind the C & H panel truck is a 56 model year, not a 55. It is also an 88 or Super 88.

  3. On the building past the Goodyear “store” it looks like there is an airplane on top of the structure.
    I live in Seattle and have for the past 71 years. I remember a building on Aurora Ave, Highway 99, in north Seattle that for many years had a “Texas Trainer” on the roof of the building. I don’t remember the store or what they sold, but I remember it vividly.
    About 15 years ago, I went for a flight in a SNJ, the Navy version of the Texas Trainer and even got to fly it for a few minutes.
    Having been retired for many years now, I certainly don’t miss the daily traffic jams I used to encounter traveling to my job as Postmaster of Lynnwood and then Everett WA. I live in South Seattle and have for all of my life. Traffic and the roads have really changed over the years.
    I appreciate the photos of Seattle’s history and wish I would have had the forethought to take photos of Seattle back in the day.

  4. The C&H delivery van is what caught my eye. The television sales and repair business my dad was a part owner of in the fifties had a few similar service trucks. This one is either a ’54 or “first series” early ’55 (the new style trucks for ’55 were delayed in production so the ’54s continued for a couple months into the “55 model year). The hubcaps and the lack of a division in the middle of the windshield are the defining details there. Dad’s business had one ’54, one later ’55, and a couple earlier ’50s with the divided windshield. Being a Chevrolet (apparently, as opposed to a GMC) the ’54/early ’55 would have the “bent knee” grill in front. So many memories of those trucks from years ago.
    The other thing about the truck that caught my attention, was the “Free delivery”. About a decade later, grocery stores offering delivery, free or otherwise, started to become rare. Today? What was old has become NEW again! Many major chains today are offering delivery again.
    Again David G, Thank You for the look back.

  5. That photo is actually not of Elliot Ave, but of Spokane Street in West Seattle. The hill on the right side of the picture is Pigeon Point – it looks exactly the same, but everything else is completely different now. The entire neighborhood was torn down to be replaced by the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5. The only business left is the Chelan Cafe (out of the photo to the left). The upper and lower roadways led to twin bridges across the Duwamish river. Those have been replaced with a high level 7 lane bridge and a lower swing bridge. The picture looks like it was taken during the afternoon commute and accurately reflects the experience – wet, gloomy and the cars aren’t moving.

  6. Gloomy? Hell, if it ain’t rainin in Seattle (in those days), it ain’t gloomy! Seems there are fewer rainy days in the Emerald City nowadays. Not sure that is a good thing, but when the sun comes out, it is a glorious place to be!

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