Looking for Old Pictures of Your House?

Old Picture of My House
Oldest Picture of My House (click to enlarge)

Most of us are not the original owners of the house we live in. It is only natural to wonder what our abode might have looked like in past years before the addition, how long that tree in the front yard has been there, when the garage was added, what was the original siding like, etc. Often, prior owners have moved on, or passed away without leaving us valuable clues to the history of the house.

It turns out that there are some public resources available to satiate our curiosity. This article points to one of those resources:  King County Records. In a later article, I will detail information available from Puget Sound Regional Archives.

The King County Assessor regularly takes and files photographs of residences as part of its work.  These photographs are part of the public record and many are available online. There are also floor plans as well. As a word of warning, please note that not all photographs and plans are available to Firefox, Safari, Chrome users due to the proprietary format of some of the images, so if you don’t use Windows(TM)  it might be a good idea to find a neighbor who has a Windows(TM) PC and uses Internet Explorer ;)  (one day in a perfect world, all public records will be available in universally readable, non-proprietary formats).  Here’s the step-by-step:

  1. Browse to the King County Assessor’s “eRealProperty” site.
  2. Read and agree to the disclaimer and terms of use.
  3. Enter your address (or better yet your parcel number from your tax bill because addresses change, but parcel numbers do not), then click the “Search” button.
  4. You should now be looking at the Assessor’s report for your house.
  5. On the top of the page click the button labeled “Property Detail”
  6. Scroll down until you see the picture of your house, then click on the camera icon. Or if you wanted to see the floor plans on file, click the camera icon above the floor plan.
  7. You should now be seeing the photographs
House 1951
House 1951. By then the siding had changed, and the address as well as the perspective.
House 1973
House 1973. A mere 22 years later, and the front steps and entry are completely changed, the front yard trees are gone, as is the awning over the front windows.

2 thoughts on “Looking for Old Pictures of Your House?”

  1. Hi there. This information is very helpful. Do you know of anyway to order a copy of the picture from this site? Thanks!

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