Roy B. Misener photograph collection, 1936-1940  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Misener, Roy B. (Roy Brooks), 1896-1955
Roy B. Misener photograph collection
1936-1940 (inclusive)
7 photographic prints (1 folder) ; sizes vary
Collection Number
Photographs of buildings in Seattle, Washington
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Entire collection can be viewed on the Libraries’ Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials Curator required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Roy Brooks Misener (January 3, 1896-July 22, 1955) was elected to the office of King County Assessor in Washington State in 1935. When Misener assumed office as King County Assessor in January 1935, he found himself confronted with "[many] inequalities of taxation and an antiquated and inefficient system of records". In his role as County Assessor, Misener most notably created the King County Land Use Survey a pioneering four-year undertaking begun in 1936 in partnership with the federal Works Progress Administration. The survey, which concluded in September 1940, was the largest white-collar WPA project to be carried out in King County. The survey was meant to correct inequalities in property tax assessments that had accumulated over the years due to lack of data, inaccurate data, subjectivity in property appraisals, and an outdated recordkeeping system. Aerial photography, field engineering surveys, and a timber survey were among the tools used to ensure that property taxation was maintained into the future. As a result of the survey, tax revenues increased by $574,000 per year, King County was fully photographed from the air for the first time, and photographs were taken of nearly every structure standing in the county at the time. In addition to his work as Assessor, Misener was a Washington State delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1940. Misener lived with his family in the Puget Sound area of western Washington State.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Collection consists of photographs of buildings around Seattle that were audited by Roy B. Misener. Most photographs include handwritten notes about the building's date of construction and tax-related information.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1a-b  Gardner Signal Service Station and Chris' Auto Rebuild, 7918 Aurora Avenue, Seattle, Washington
Written on item 1a: Altho built in 1929, this super service station was not on tax rolls until discovered by Roy B. Misener. A.V. in 1929 - 2500. A.V. in 1938 - 1540. Total lost to county in taxes - $1404.75.The names on the building are obscured in item 1a.
between 1936-1940
1 2a-b  Happy Corner beer parlor, 9040 Holman Road, Seattle, Washington
Written on item 2a: This building erected in 1925. Paid no taxes whatsoever until Roy B. Misener's revalution program.Item 2a has the name of the building obscured; item 2b has the name of the building.
circa 1936
1 3a-b  Masonic Temple, 1201 South Bailey Street, Seattle, Washington
Written on item 3a: Assessor Roy B. Misener discovered previous assessors had this building listed as a "coal shed". Built - 1927. AV in 1927 - $18450. AV in 1938 - 12100. Total lost to county in taxes - $14,891.61.
between 1936-1940
1 4  Standard Oil service station between 1936-1940

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Buildings--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.)--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographs