Seattle Architecture: A Walking Guide to Downtown opens with an historical overview and timeline featuring the people and events that have shaped the Seattle that we know today. The guidebook is divided into nine tours beginning where Seattle did, at Pioneer Square, and ending at Seattle Center, the location of the futuristic-themed 1962 Century 21 World's Fair. The front flap folds out, providing a map of the areas covered in the book.
Each tour is accompanied by an introduction and area map with points of interest identified by numbers that correspond to individual entries. Architect names and dates of completion are provided at the beginning of each entry, and an icon indicates when a building is on a local or national landmarks register.
Seattle is situated in a region of outstanding scenic beauty, but the forested hills and numerous bodies of water that characterize the city were formidable obstacles to connecting its communities as it grew out from the historic center. Between 1896 and 1930, the city undertook massive landscape regrades, landfills, and waterway cuts to ease movement by land and water. The completion of these efforts allowed for the construction of Seattle's first permanent steel bridges beginning in 1910. Nine bridges included in this book are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. They include Washington's oldest steel arch bridge, the 1911 Twelfth Avenue South Bridge; the 1913 Ravenna Park Bridge; all four of the Lake Washington Ship Canal bascules, constructed between 1917 and 1924; and the Depression-era Aurora, Cowen Park, and Schmitz Park bridges. Bridges of Seattle explores the history of the spans that are a quintessential part of the Seattle experience.