Looking for Local History: Property Information

May is local history month! All month long, we’ll be sharing bits and pieces of Issaquah’s collection, as well as tutorials to help you find local history on your own. Enjoy!

One of the most common research questions we receive is, “How can I find out more history about my house?” The best place to start is with the Puget Sound branch of the Washington State Archives. http://www.sos.wa.gov/archives/archives_puget.aspx. During the Depression, WPA workers took photographs of each property in King County. Using the parcel number, you can ask the archives to pull the property description for your home. The description will probably list the ownership of the property starting in the 1930s, along with structural and value changes to the property. You will need to make a research appointment with them, and you’ll need your parcel number. You can probably find your tax parcel number on home purchase or mortgage records, but here’s another (possibly easier) way to find that information:
1. Go to http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/GIS/Maps/iMAP.aspx. Click on the Start iMap button (If you’re using dial-up, click on the Parcel Viewer link below the map.)

2. Click on the “Property Search” button and enter your address; iMap defaults to searching by parcel number, so make sure you have checked the box for searching by address. For this example, you can see we’re using the address for the Gilman Town Hall.

3. iMap will zoom in on your parcel, and the parcel number will be displayed in the block below it. This is the number you’ll need to take to the archives.

4. Click on “Get Assessor Report” to see the County’s description of your property.

5. You’ll notice that the “year built” date is 1914. Construction dates on these records are not always accurate; the Gilman Town Hall was constructed in 1888.