by Brian Zylstra | November 29th, 2011
Photo courtesy Washington State Archives
With Christmas just weeks away, many of us might want to give a relative or that special friend a unique gift that you won’t see on TV and just can’t find in a big store, a catalog or online.
But you might not know what to get or where to get it. Here’s an idea: Buy a wonderful historic photo from the State Archives!
Besides having millions and millions of public documents, our State Archives has thousands of interesting historical photos from various parts of Washington. And if you’re looking for photos of historical homes and buildings in King County, the Archives’ Puget Sound regional branch has a huge collection to explore.
The Seattle P-I did this recent story about how the King County assessor in the late 1930s did an extensive survey of all county properties and how county assessor’s staff took a photo of each house or building. Those photos can be found in the Puget Sound regional branch. The article also tells how to begin your photo search.
Just think how excited a grandmother or uncle would be to receive a photo of the house or apartment he or she grew up in – the way it looked back then! Or imagine the wonder of seeing the actual house where your great-grandmother was raised.
The Puget Sound branch charges a $15 fee for 30 minutes of staff photo scanning time or $22 for an 8-by-10 photo from a negative. There is no fee for reusing the photos. If you need specific prices or more info on photos, call the Puget Sound branch at (425) 564-3940 or e-mail them at PSBranchArchives@sos.wa.gov.
If you want to buy a copy of a historical home photo, you should submit your request by Dec. 15 so you get it in time for Christmas. Even then, the Puget Sound branch staff can’t guarantee it will be ready by then, so place your order soon. You need to make an appointment for in-person research.
And if you have questions about other photos or documents, contact the State Archives in Olympia at (360) 586-1492 or firstname.lastname@example.org.