A City at Work: Images from the Seattle Municipal Archives Photo Collection
Public Health & Sanitation: Introduction
The City of Seattle has a long history of protecting its citizens from disease, food poisoning, and other environmental hazards. Early on, Seattle addressed some of these threats by investing in clean drinking water and a sewer system. The Department of Health and Sanitation was formed to inspect the city's food supply, safely dispose of garbage, and treat, isolate, or remove those with contagious diseases including tuberculosis and venereal diseases. In the 1910's and 20's, Seattle boasted that it had the lowest mortality rate of any similarly-sized city in the world. In 1951, the department merged with the King County Health Department (garbage removal was transferred to the Engineering Department in 1939 and assumed by Seattle Public Utilities in 1997). Seattle has continued to invest in various programs that promote public health through environmental health.
City Hospital Tuberculosis Division, 1927. [Item No: 2718]
More than 2,300 public health and sanitation related images can be viewed in the Photograph Index. The Archives possesses hundreds more Engineering Department solid waste removal negatives taken after 1962. These images can be searched and viewed at the Seattle Municipal Archives.
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