WPA Project #2541 was most ambitious white-collar WPA project in Washington State and dramatically increased the tax revenue the state collected from landowners and developers, while creating the first record of King County properties.

Prior to Project 2541, logging outfits, developers and others were operating mostly under the radar.

Every day from 1936 to 1940, 25 teams of engineers, draftsmen, mathematicians, calligraphers, photographers and hundreds of newly employed assistants went out into the fields of King County to detail the existing structures, development plans, roads, geographic and topographic features and of course, natural resources such as timber, coal and waterways.

As I worked with the maps, the grid that was super-imposed on the land raised questions in my mind.  Sometimes the grid seemed secondary to the land itself, as when the surveyor scribbled a delicate record of the topographical features, a nearly lyrical inventory of what was around him.

In other cases, the glued on imposition of entire housing developments seemed to underscore a disconnect with the land itself.

 

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