Rob Ketcherside

Local writer has history to show in new book

(Editor's note: Rob Ketcherside, local writer and software manager will be writing articles for the Westside Weekly this fall. We introduce him to you here)

By Tim Robinson

When Rob Ketcherside started digging into Seattle's history of street and building clocks, he opened a door he cannot close. He's too deep into nostalgic icons of early Seattle. From the street car lines to the Puget Sound Ferry Kalakala, Rob has created a niche in local publishing. Rob is a Burien guy. Graduated from Highline High School and currently works in the software industry in Seattle.

Westside Weekly spoke with Ketcherside recently.
"I was put in contact with the "Lost" series publisher Anova through my friend Ben Lukoff, who wrote a book for their "Then and Now" series.

Anova Books Ltd., helped Rob produce his latest effort, "Lost Seattle". It is the story of buildings no longer existing. Buildings that served as hotels, freight houses, terminals, pharmacies and schools. Rob scoured local online archives such as the Seattle Public Library, Seattle Municipal Archives, UW, and Washington State Archives. He developed a beautiful
, large-format picture history that he compliments with short essays cementing what made the buildings special.

“They needed the whole book -- 48 essays of 500 words -- done in four months,
" Rob said.
“I decided it was just crazy enough to be possible, so I took a week to put together a sample for them , matching their series style. Anova loved my articles about the Kingdome and the ferry Kalakala, saying they were print-ready, and indeed they're largely unchanged in the finished book,” he added.

While working full time and raising a toddler
, Rob somehow wrote the book at night. He also wrote while walking to work, while sitting in the parking lot at the zoo, anywhere he had time. It was entirely composed in Google Docs and most of the drafting was done on an iPhone. Rob got very little sleep, holding Ansel in his arms while digging through the online Seattle Times archive. He eventually turned rough text into flowing articles.

“My vision was to have about a tenth of the articles be completely unique, and have a tenth of each article be something even a local would find new. It was amazing to hold the book in my hands the first time
, with my name on it and hand it to Ansel and watch him start scribbling all over it," Rob laughed.

For more information or to find a copy of the book,
It is available at most Seattle bookstores and online if you search for Rob Ketcherside Lost Seattle.

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