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Two types of aerial photographs are found in the photograph collections of the King County Archives:

1. Photographs taken systematically as part of an aerial mapping project, usually for tax assessment purposes.

Section 33, Township 21, Range 5 (south King County), 1936.
The King County Archives holds photographic prints from aerial survey projects in 1936 and 1961 (partial). These photographs are arranged by section-township-range coordinates. Each photograph shows one section of land.  Many of the 1930's photographs can be accessed online through the Road Service Division's Map Vault Database.

Don't miss the Archives' online exhibit about production of the 1936 Land Use Survey, which features images, documents, and streaming film clips from the King County Assessor's Office.


2. Photographs taken incidentally as part of a county project or program.

Eastgate Park and surrounding area, Bellevue, early 1970s.
Aerial photographs have been taken for projects such as:
  • Land acquisition for park or trail development
  • Farmland preservation
  • Road or street construction or improvement

Using keywords such as road and street names, park names, or other identifiers, you may be able to find an aerial photograph of the object of your research if it was or is:

  • Near a county structure, project, or facility
  • In unincorporated King County
  • On or near county-owned land

Series containing aerial photographs

    King County aerial mapping survey photographs, 1936 and 1961 (incomplete)

    Department of Transportation photograph and moving image files, 1960-2002
    Commercial and residential neighborhoods adjacent to county road projects can appear in aerial photographs of the project.

    Office of Information Resource Management - Printing and Graphic Arts photograph files, c. 1962-2000
    Commercial and residential neighborhoods adjacent to watercourses, wastewater collection and treatment facilities, and transit routes and facilities can appear in aerial photographs in this collection. Areas include Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Duwamish area, Eastside area, Federal Way, Kent, north King County, Lake Sammamish, Lake Washington, Medina, Northgate area, Renton and the Cedar River, south Federal Way and Tukwila. Aerial images of Seattle neighborhoods are also present.

    Department of Public Works aerial photographs, 1965-1974
    Neighborhoods (Burien area, Highline, Kenmore, Pacific Highway South, Shoreline, Soos Creek areas) adjacent to county road projects can appear in aerial photographs of the project.

    Department of Public Works, Solid Waste Division photograph files, 1965-1987
    During the time covered by these records, the Solid Waste Division and its predecessor, the Sanitary Operations Department, maintained photograph files of county solid waste facilities and operations, including waste transfer stations or landfills at Algona, Bow Lake, Cedar Falls, Cedar Hills, Duvall, Enumclaw, First Avenue Northeast [Shoreline], Hobart, Houghton, Northshore, Renton, Stoneway and Vashon. One subseries is composed of color 8"x 8" aerial photographic prints, taken by departmental photographers in 1980. The images show county landfills or transfer stations and their surrounding geography.

    King County Park System photographs, 1948-1998

    Department of Parks, Planning and Resources, Environmental Division photograph files, 1970-1983
    During the time period represented by these records, the Environmental Division prepared and presented audiovisual programs on various topics relating to the natural and built environment of King County. A 1981 color slide show presentation about the upper Snoqualmie River Valley contains both ground and aerial photographs of the areas in and around Snoqualmie and North Bend. A related sound cassette accompanies the photographs.

    Department of Natural Resources and Parks- Parks Division aerial photographs, 1977-1990
    Most aerial images are from the 1970s-1990s.

    County Executive Randy Revelle - Farmland Preservation Program files , 1984
    This series contains aerial photographs, compiled by the County Executive's office, of properties being considered for acquisition by the Farmland Preservation program.

    Department of Executive Administration miscellaneous program files, 1965-1987
    This series includes aerial photographs relating to a 1987 Kent Highlands land purchase by King County.

TTY Relay 711

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 9 am-4 pm

Please note the Archives is closed Wednesdays.