After some hand wringing and calling in the experts, it was determined that the bricks were simply another older foundation that hadn’t been removed when the newer garage structure was built sometime in the 50’s (property records show right around 1951 for a little under $100). But wait! That’s when things get interesting. Beneath the area inside of the brick walls, the crew discovered trash! And lots of it. There was charcoal from wood burning, parts of a wheel assembly from an old car, manufactured metal objects, and three glass bottles. All signs pointed to the area being a good old fashioned dump site. Our super sleuthing powers were activated.
Live From the Garbage Dump
In 1905, around five years before Drew and Jacob’s house was built, The Seattle Sunday Times ran an exposé of one of Seattle’s original landfills. Seattle had successfully and horrifyingly created a pile of garbage 120 feet long, 80 feet wide, and 60 feet deep on the city’s southern tide flats. Check out these headlines:
LIVE FROM GARBAGE DUMP
Scores of Men, Women and Children Daily Gang of Scavengers Exist Upon Decayed Food Carried Away by Human Beings Make Their Homes in Miserable Huts on the Tidelands in Places Unfit for Habitation of Animals
Yikes. It was no wonder, really, as Seattle’s population nearly tripled between 1900 and 1910. After the population boom, the city eventually made a major investment in sanitation, and garbage disposal was put under the direction of the health department. Still, there existed three types of dumps in Seattle well into the 1940’s: landfills, “sanitary” dumps (how sanitary these actually were is debatable), and finally, burning dumps. The Ballard neighborhood maintained a large landfill site near Market Street at 28th Avenue NW, but regular citizens with enough backyard space could easily burn garbage of their own. And that’s exactly what the former residents of Drew and Jacob’s house appear to have done. We have the bottles and assorted car parts to prove it.
Now About Those Bottles...
Just in case you ever stumble upon a garbage dump in your backyard full of bottles in need of archeological dating, don’t fret. The Internet has your back. Drew took a deep dive into the World Wide Web’s many glass collector sites to get to the bottom of this mystery. As previously mentioned, we happened upon three glass bottles: two that appear to be beer bottles and one vessel that looks almost medicinal in nature.