The photographer Asahel Curtis collected this image taken near 3rd and Union just after the June 1889 Seattle fire. The Tacoma Relief Bureau set up an emergency kitchen and served soup lines in the wake of the devastating fire. 1889 was a cursed year for summer fires with Spokane, Ellensburg and Bellingham all losing sections of their downtowns to flames. Tacoma was lucky with no fire at home but sent aid to the ravaged Northwest cities over the Northern Pacific railroad lines. In those days it was a railroad hub and a perfect place from which to launch relief efforts. That November Washington became the 42nd State.
Note August 2017:
The scale of the destruction left by the Seattle fire is further captured in the following images from the Digital Collection at the University of Washington. Probably the newspapers followed by the politicians in Seattle and Tacoma did the most to feed the fire of animosity between the two cities over the years but when disaster struck the people in both communities helped each other. These photos tell that story in the summer before Washington statehood.