The Ladies that Sewed Seattle Back Together

The Ladies that Sewed Seattle Back Together

Our Inspiration for Sunset

The Sunset blend was created in 1998 and was inspired by the beautiful sunsets that Seattle and the Pacific Northwest are so fond of. This roast was inspired by the timeliness of day. Like the city of Seattle, Sunset comes alive after things get dark, like the bold and smoky reminiscence of this blend. We imagine our customers enjoying this coffee in a warm and dimly lit gathering place. It was one of those crisp but beautiful fall nights when the founders of Urban City created the Sunset blend in efforts to create a complex yet smooth bodied blend such as this one. Read our Sunset Blend inspired story, where we share an instance when Seattle's heartbeat loudest after the sun set.

Black Canvas for Bold Moves

At one time, our proclivity for sin played a hand in disaster. A fire that started in a woodworking shop had the good fortune to find itself surrounded by liquor stores and saloons. Fueled by massive amounts of alcohol, that fire went on to destroy Seattle. Downtown was lost. 29 city blocks, leveled.

Seattle saw the ashes as a blank canvas for bold moves. The old city still exists, buried beneath the Seattle we know today. We rebuilt stronger, and higher, and spared no expense. In the year after the fire, the city's population nearly doubled thanks to the scale of construction being done and the workers required to do it. At the same time, the city was quickly going broke. Infrastructure is necessary, but not free. A census was organized to uncover just how many new residents the town had, and how they might pay for the raised streets and functional plumbing.

The influx of construction workers came as no surprise to anyone. The accompanying influx of seamstresses was more of a head-scratcher. According to the census, in a town of 40,000 - mostly men - there were about 2,700 seamstresses. Interestingly, the vast majority of those working women all lived on the same street in Pioneer Square. Seattle was not famous for the garment district, so the city council sent a few volunteers over to investigate. Believe it or not, they didn't turn up a single sewing machine. Imagine, nearly three thousand seamstresses and not one sewing machine between them. They were, however, making astonishing profits.

The head seamstress, a German born entrepreneur by the name of Lou Graham, ran the finest sewing circle in town, catering to the upper echelon of Seattle society. She was also one of the most prosperous women of her time, skilled businesswoman and investor. Graham and the council came to an agreement. Seattle's seamstresses would help pay to rebuild their city, at a rate of ten dollars per week. This "sewing machine tax" would restock the city's depleted coffers and, in return, earn the seamstresses a blind eye from the police as they peddled their craft.

Lou Graham and the working women of Pioneer Square helped Seattle rise from the ashes of the worst time in history. If Graham was thanked for saving the city's elite (and some say the bank itself) from bankruptcy amid the panic of 1893, it was done quietly. She wasn't interested in the spotlight.

After all, Seattle's heart does beat loudest after the sun sets.

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