THURSDAY: Learn about West Seattle’s streetcar-driven days

(Heart of The Junction, 1926. Photo courtesy SWSHS)

Among other things, streetcars are why The Junction is The Junction. Though they’ve been gone for many decades, streetcars play a big role in West Seattle history, and you can learn more about it Thursday. Here’s the preview:

Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s monthly speaker series will host local transportation enthusiast Mike Bergman in his presentation of “To West Seattle by Streetcars: 1916 to 1940” at ‘Words, Writers & SouthWest Seattle’s’ next digital event, which will be hosted via Zoom at 6 PM on August 13th.

Bergman’s talk will explore the history of West Seattle’s streetcar system in the first half of the twentieth century, including its construction and the influence the streetcar system had on the area’s development and growth. Showcasing numerous historic photos, Bergman will address the evolution of three segments of the West Seattle corridor: Youngstown (Spokane & Avalon to the bridge), the West Waterway bridge itself, and the elevated streetcar trestle between the bridge and downtown.

Advanced registration is required at Registered participants will be emailed a Zoom link to the presentation on the date of the event.

Born and raised in Seattle, Bergman has been interested in Seattle Transportation history from an early age, especially the city’s bridges, railroads and public transit systems. He has a degree in Geography from the University of Washington, and was employed as a transit consulting firm, then moved to King County Metro in 1980. At Metro, he worked as a transit service planner, project manager and communications specialist. He took a new position at Sound Transit in 2000, where he produced the agency’s annual service plan and developed schedules for ST Express buses, Sounder commuter rail and Link light rail.

Following his retirement in 2016, Mike maintained a strong interest in local transit and transportation history. He is a volunteer at the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archive (PNRA), a non-profit educational organization developing a repository of Northwest rail history, including city streetcar systems. Mike has organized PNRA’s large collection of material on the Seattle Municipal Railway and has developed and shown powerpoint presentations on Seattle streetcar history to various community groups. He is the president of the Tacoma Chapter- National Railway Historical Society, and regularly contributes articles of local historical interest to The Trainsheet, the chapter’s monthly newsletter.

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society has been sponsoring this free speaker series regularly for the past seven years. Future presentations for following months are planned to be shown live via Zoom to continue observation of safe, social distancing. Corporate sponsorship is being sought for this series and donations are welcomed.

Next month’s event will be by former presenter Eric Wagner, and is titled, “After the Blast: The Ecological Recovery of Mount St. Helens”. For videos on these and other speakers’ presentations, check out “Events” at This series is open to hosting any author or speaker addressing historical issues relating to the Puget Sound/Duwamish Peninsula and/or the general public.

11 Replies to "THURSDAY: Learn about West Seattle's streetcar-driven days"

  • BJG August 10, 2020 (3:27 pm)

    Thanks for the photo. Our house was built that year a block and a half a away, as were many of our neighbors’ homes. I think they have been holding up very well. We have a truly “established neighborhood.” 

  • Sillygoose August 10, 2020 (3:30 pm)

    Ah I love it that the buildings on each corner still exist, Easy Street Records and Cupcake Royal.

  • Elliot August 10, 2020 (4:03 pm)

    Anyone able to find the actual registration link? Don’t see it on the home page or calendar. 

  • Max August 10, 2020 (5:10 pm)

    Alaska Junction, Admiral Junction, and Morgan Junction. The street car went all along California.

    • WSB August 10, 2020 (5:12 pm)

      Yes, of course it did, and far beyond. That was an example and a reference to the photo.

  • 22blades August 10, 2020 (5:19 pm)

    This is fantastic! I just need to (yes, I’m one of “those”) figure out zUmE.

  • George August 10, 2020 (6:42 pm)

    It was probably faster to get to downtown from WS by public transit 100 years ago than it is today. Sad what the automobile and corporations did to the cities in this country

    • CC August 10, 2020 (8:03 pm)

      At least Seattle is still pretty walkable and public-transit-able. I’m from Tennessee, where urban sprawl has taken over, and I absolutely love getting around Seattle. At least, I did before ye olde pandemic :( WSB, thanks for sharing this! I took a class in college that covered the evolution of cities + transportation, so I’m excited to see how this applies to our neighborhoods!

  • KBear August 10, 2020 (7:05 pm)

    Gee, rail transit to downtown! What will they think of next? I’ll bet they got there a lot faster than we do now. 

  • Heather Hanson August 11, 2020 (10:41 am)

    Those people to the far right would be sitting at Starbucks today.  This is a very cool photo.  Thank you for sharing.

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