Local writer discovers intriguing map of the neighborhood

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Local geology writer David Williams emailed in the story of an intriguing map that superimposes northern Europe on a map of Seattle that was published in the Seattle Times in July, 1916. The map was reportedly produced by local insurance surveyor G. E. Kastengren who believed that it showed why “so many Scandinavians have been content to make the Puget Sound country their own.”

Williams came across the map while searching the Seattle Times online archive and wanted to share it with Ballardites. “What amazing is how well the creator of the map aligns cities, waterways, and even areas of economic importance between Seattle and Scandinavia,” writes Williams.

On his blog, Williams included further information about how the map provides unique insight into our geography and the possible reason so many Scandinavian immigrants felt at home here:

For example, Norway and Sweden align with Ballard and points north and the U-District and points north. The Gulf of Bothnia, which separates Finland from the rest of Scandinavia, fits pretty well with the northern end of Lake Washington. To the south, Elliott Bay stands in for the straits separating Denmark from its northern neighbors. Kastengren even points out how the University of Washington matches Uppsala University and how Sweden’s largest port, Gothenberg corresponds with downtown Seattle’s big port facility for the Northern Pacific RR. You can also see how the old city boundary of 85th Street runs along what would be the north 61st degree of latitude.

The Seattle Times article surrounding the map also provides a unique perspective on the point that Ballard was “the new Norway”:

That Norwegians should be found in extreme numbers in Ballard is in keeping with the general scheme. Here we find them weaving shingles on the shores of Salmon Bay which is only a miniature Hardanger Fjord.

Thanks David for shedding light on this intriguing map!

Map courtesy of Seattle Times online archive.

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