Walking and Talking About 'Ghosts of Seattle Past' - Atlas Obscura

Seattle, Washington

Walking and Talking About 'Ghosts of Seattle Past'

Join us to explore Seattle's history in the Central and International Districts, in partnership with "Ghosts of Seattle Past."

Join us for an urban hike followed by a dynamic reading to explore the contours of city history, stories, and geography, in partnership with the artistic minds behind Ghosts of Seattle Past.

Ghosts of Seattle Past began as an effort to commemorate Seattle's lost places, under the guiding vision of Jaimee Garbacik. Their call for submissions prompted a hailstorm response that then evolved into a successful series of art exhibits, performances and forums, hand-drawn maps pinned with Seattleites beloved haunts, and now an anthology filled with stories, art, maps, and memories of Seattle's former lives. The Seattle Obscura Society announces a unique event to showcase some of the contributions to this exciting new book from Seattle-based Chin Music Press.

This event will begin with a walking tour along Yesler Way after meeting at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. From there, Rachel Kessler will lead attendees on an urban hike while reading from her Ghosts of Seattle Past essay, "Profanity Hill." Field Agent Eric Magnuson will offer additional context during the walking tour by sharing research about the history and culture of Seattle's most diverse neighborhoods. This 50-minute journey will make multiple stops in the Central District en route to the International District, and will even include a special musical guest.  

The walking tour will reach its final destination at the KOBO Gallery within the historic Higo Variety Store (602-608 South Jackson St.) in the International District, where several more Ghosts contributors will share their memories about the surrounding neighborhoods.

Featured authors include:

  • Dean Wong reading a piece about grief, Donnie Chin, and Canton Alley
  • Shelly Leavens reading from an interview with Roger Shimomura about the Wah Mee and Bush Garden
  • Dave Holden (son of Jazz Patriarch of Seattle, Oscar Holden) in conversation with Jaimee Garbacik about the Palomar Theatre and old jazz scene
  • Noel Franklin reading a comic about the OK Hotel
  • Judy T. Oldfield reading from an essay about the Merchant’s Café and the effects of tech culture
  • Tamiko Nimura reading about the inspiration she found in David Ishii bookstore

Event attendees will have the opportunity to purchase Ghosts of Seattle Past from Chin Music Press and have their copies signed by contributors and curator. Please join us for this rare immersive opportunity to explore parts of Seattle well worth preserving. 


  • Meet in front of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute at 104 17th Ave. S (along Yesler Way).
  • Street parking is available; please read signs carefully and park at your own discretion. We recommend that you plan for public transportation options to and from this event. Please note this tour will end at KOBO Gallery @ Higo Variety Store (602 Jackson St.) in the International District.
  • We will be “urban hiking” just over one mile total at a moderate pace, making numerous stops along the route. Please plan accordingly with proper shoes.
  • Rain or shine. This is Seattle, after all.
  • Photography is encouraged, but please be respectful in places of business. Tag #atlasobscura for anything especially interesting.


Email Eric Magnuson at eric.magnuson@atlasobscura.com.

Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.

Check out our full lineup of amazing adventures taking place all around the world on Obscura Day, our annual celebration of discovery!

Use the #obscuraday hashtag on your favorite social media platforms to show us how you're celebrating. We'll be featuring your posts on our own platforms all day, and you could even win some Atlas Obscura prizes.