skip to main content

King County Archives

A repository of county government records
King County Archives
1215 E. Fir St.
Building A
Seattle, WA 98122


Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 4:00 pm


Photograph Collections at the King County Archives

The King County Archives holds over 25,000 photographic images in its collections: prints, negatives, slides, and digital images. Information about these images is maintained in the Archives' collection database.

Images in these collections were created by county agencies as part of their program or functional responsibilities. The King County Archives organizes photographs in relation to the agencies that created them or to the programs that they document.

Photographs can be used for purposes not intended by their creators. For instance, a series of bridge photographs can document the histories of bridges at specific county sites. The photographs can also incidentally show such subjects as people, animals, homes and businesses, land uses, the natural environment, advertising signs, railroads, agriculture, floods, and so on.

Bellevue Wharf, 1934 (93.1.0147)
Series 375, Road Engineer wharf files

Tips for researching photos

Very few of these photographs can be retrieved by owner name, street address, or tax parcel number.

Instead they can be researched through access points based on property location:

Keywords (subject terms): name of town, nearby landmark, geographical point of reference; other proper names or distinguishing characteristics.

Section-township-range coordinates, also known as the STR number. This is a three-part number (for example, 32-24-4) which establishes a location within a square mile, in relation to latitude and longitude.

Street and road names, or nearest intersection (expressed as street and avenue. For example: 15th Avenue NE and NE 145th Street.

Property address or property owner name. Photographs usually can't be found by address or name alone, but sometimes this information is present as part of a broader description.

Archives staff can help you determine access points, search historical records collections, and provide lists of photographs or other records which may be useful to you.

Significant photograph series

The following links contain some samples of photographs from specific series and are not comprehensive photo libraries.

County Executive

Series 413: County Executive John Spellman photograph files, 1968-1969

The Kingdome

Series 473: Department of Stadium Administration promotional materials, 1972-2000


Series 467: Park System photograph files, 1948-1998

Series 427: Design Commission--Seahurst Park project file, 1971-1979

Public Health

Series 275: Seattle-King County Department of Public Health photograph files, 1909-1970

Public Works

Series 400: Department of Public Works project photographs [Brittain Collection], 1900-2002

Series 412: Department of Public Works levee inspection files, 1988-1990

Series 415: Department of Public Works -- Community Relations and Communications photograph files

Series 441: Department of Public Works -- Solid Waste Division photograph files

Series 474: Road Engineer bridge files: photographs, 1904-1988

Series 375: Road Engineer wharf files, 1906-1979