In the last Seattle Now and Then contribution – Jan. 15, this year – we included a feature titled “Dear Old Seattle.” It was a quote taken from one of the many letters sent by Fred Stanley Auerbach, the young man pictured above, to his parents in the east. As explained, Auerbach was visiting here looking for the best investment chances for family money. Archivist-historian Greg Lange uncovered the letters several years ago and we copied them. Auerbach stayed in the Seattle Hotel, using its stationary. He liked the hotel but in one letter he considers moving to less expensive quarters. We have pulled a few pages – only – from the many that are collected in a bound album. Auerbach was here in 1906, still the time of Seattle’s greatest booming. His handwriting is negotiable and his descriptions often lively. “This is the damnedest town I ever saw . . . I never was in a city in my life where I felt such a stranger and I think the reason is that nobody has been here long enough to feel at home . . . It is all business. You couldn’t imagine anyone saying ‘dear old Seattle.’ If you ask anyone on the street where such and such a street is, one out of every three will say ‘I don’t know I am a stranger myself.’ ” (The letters, as I pulled them, are not always in the order he wrote them.)
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Auerbach came west on the Canadian Pacific Railroad and crashed with it. The top of the two remaining selections describes, in part, that adventure. The last letter witnesses to another crash – a “remarkable accident” – at a Seattle intersection.