Seattle, Washington is the largest city in the region of the United States known as the Pacific Northwest. “The Emerald City” is known more for its grunge, coffee, and drizzling rain than for its lush emerald greenery, but the city boasts all of these delights in equal supply giving it a blue state appeal. Seattle’s youthfulness is about more than just flannel and fancy coffee it is also home to some of the finest new generation companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, REI, Amazon.com and Nintendo America. Because of its appeal and new age companies Seattle is consistently ranked as the most literate city in America with large potions of its population with an undergraduate diploma or greater.
"Emerald" Seattle is also packed full of parks making it an ideal place to hike, run, ride a bike, kayak, or even trek out to Puget Sound? for a walk on the beach while catching great views of Olympic Mountain. In Kerry Park? there is said to be the best view of the city with a great shot of the Space Needle with Mt. Rainer in the background.
The Seattle area has been home to various Native American tribes since the end of the glacial period, nearly 4,000 years ago. Most notable among these tribes were the Duwamish whose chief’s name, Chief Sealth, was anglicized to give the city its name. The city was formed in 1851 by European settlers and shortly became a major headquarters in the lumber industry. After the fall of the lumber industry came the rise of the gold industry with the Klondike Gold Rush, which Seattle was not a host of, but an important supplier and post for. Since its Klondike days Seattle has gone through many up and down cycles, most recently dot-com and telecommunication companies have settled in the city giving white collar an edge.
Seattle, Washington has a history that dates back to around the end of the last glacial age, sometime around 8,000 BCE.
The founding of what is now the city of Seattle, Washington, dates to around 1851, with the arrival of Arthur Denny and his family at Alki Point. The Denny party survived the journey, attacks by First Nations Tribes, and stopped in Portland that August, while Arthur recovered from illness. They arrived at Elliott Bay, in what would become part of downtown Seattle that November.
A township was established, making use of the then modern grid system that is so common today. Early residents made use of the abundant forest for their trade, building a strong timber industry that would play a prominent role in the development of San Francisco, California after numerous fires destroyed efforts to urbanize that area. The close proximity to fast flowing water made the transportation of this timber easy and efficient.
The encroachment on land used by First Nations tribes led to rising tensions, and claimed several lives. For the city’s American settlers, the killing of First Nations residents became little more than hunting, there was no ethical concern. After martial Law was declared, this attitude would come back to haunt the city.
In spite of this, a few new residents took a stand against the brutal war. Among them, a man known as Doc Maynard stands out for risking his own life to save the lives of First Nations tribes not involved in the conflict. His efforts won him the friendship of Chief Sealth (better known as Chief Seattle), leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes. The Chief was honoured with a memorial statue erected by Seattle founder Arthur Denny in 1890 near the site of his grave.
The district of Pioneer Square was founded in 1852, and is now home to several art galleries, clubs and a national historic park.
In spite of this treaty, Seattle was attacked in 1856 by resentful locals, and claimed several lives before the revolt was brought to an end. Some Americans, however, continued to offer a bounty for the heads of “bad Indians”, which even led some First Nations residents to scalp other First Nations residents in order to collect a higher bounty.
In 1861, the University of the Territory of Washington was founded out of the earlier Lewis County University. The Lewis university moved to Seattle in 1858, and became the new university within a few years. After a rocky start, closing three times due to lack of enrolment and funding, the university moved to Union Bay, north of downtown. The institution would move again in 1895, on land that is now occupied by the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.
In 1862, a smallpox outbreak devastated the region, quickly reaching epidemic proportions. Nearly half of the First Nations residents lost their lives to the disease.
Henry Yesler developed a steam sawmill and cookhouse in the heart of Seattle, earning him millions.
Seattle women attempted to reverse the national changed brought by women’s suffrage.
The city installed the first bathtub with plumbing in 1870.
The streetcar came to town in 1884, and a cable car was built in 1887.
Ferry service was established in 1888. Within one year, a bridge was constructed across Salmon Bay.
Peace was finally brought to Seattle in 1885, with the signing of the treaty of Point Elliott, which guaranteed certain rights to First Nations tribes, including hunting and fishing, as well as establishing tracts of land for their safe use.
Historic Seattle Hotel opened in 1890. The hotel was demolished in 1961 inspiring a movement of preserve several historic properties.
The innovative Union Trust Building was built in 1893.
Over the next few decades, Seattle earned a reputation for its lumber industry, generating millions of dollars and continued growth. By the end of the 1880s, however, so much of the city was developed based on lumber construction that the town was nearly destroyed in a massive fire during the summer of 1889.
The redevelopment of the city over the next few years led to innovative measures, and attracted the interest of several Americans looking to earn a fortune in real estate development.
In 1893, the nation’s economy slumped, causing the Panic of 1893. Seattle was hit hard, experiencing heavy unemployment. Salvation came in the form of the Klondike Gold Rush, and Seattle became a stopping point for future prospectors to gather supplies.
By the end of the 19th century, the town had grown into a small city with a strong economy. The growth led to an increase in prostitution and gambling, attracting what some felt to be an unsavoury element. The reputation of Seattle suffered.
In 1907, now world renowned Pike Place Market opened to great popularity. The market is currently the oldest continuous market in the city, and one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations.
Its notoriety played a role in the national railroad moving to , and Seattle established its own rail service between Seattle and Newcastle. Even though it never made it as far as Walla Walla, the railroad was named the Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad. The line would be purchased by the Pacific Coast Railroad Company in 1916.
The success of the early railroad brought the interest of the Great Northern railway in the early 1880s, a service that led to improved living conditions and public reputation.
The rapid growth led to increased unemployment, and racial tensions began to resurface. This time, the victims were Chinese residents, in part because of the lower wages Chinese earned. Violent opposition to Chinese residents led to the forced relocation of countless Chinese, and claimed many lives.
By the turn of the 20th century, Seattle began extensive redevelopment, including a seawall, canals and several “new” districts. Prominent among these efforts is the International District, said to be the only place in America where so many nationalities reside side by side.
In 1902, outlaw Harry Severns, better known as Harry Tracy, an outlaw believed to have run with Butch Cassidy, escaped prison and hid out in Seattle, before finally committing suicide near Creston.
The lake Washington Ship Canal, a massive undertaking, began construction in 1911. The 23 year project connected Lake Washington to Puget Sound.
The Seattle skyline changed forever, with the construction of Smith Tower in Pioneer Square. The oldest skyscraper in the city was the tallest building on the coast, until the Seattle Space Needle was built in 1962.
The continued growth of the city led to increased modernisation. Extensions of the street car system became common, several bridges were constructed, including the Lacey V Murrow memorial bridge (a floating bridge that connects Seattle to mercer Island via the I-90) and several new districts evolved.
Several measures were instigated to develop the appeal, including bond issues to raise money for public parks. Seattle experienced an economic boom.
The economy slowed during the Great Depression, as did much of America’s. Even still, the city’s previous efforts to develop its image led to the status as one of the nicest places to live in the country.
The Second World war brought the economy back, and in the subsequent years Seattle enjoyed a long economic boom. Companies diversified and hired in the thousands. Seattle hosted the 1962 World’s Fair, exploring the future of America. Several remarkable structures were constructed, including the Seattle Center and the Space Needle, then the tallest building “west of the Mississippi”. the innovative tower is said to be able to withstand the force of a 9.5 earthquake.
The Seattle Center Monorail was first developed as an experimental system of less than a mile. After the World’s Fair, the system was developed, and is now the only monorail system in the US to turn a profit.
In the early 1960s, martial art and film legend Bruce Lee came to Seattle, first to study philosophy at the University and then to teach martial arts. The icon is buried next to his son Brandon in Lake View Cemetery.
The city also began to earn a reputation for innovative music, inspiring the likes of Jimi Hendrix and later an entire movement. Grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden would soon take attention away from the more traditional centers like Detroit and Los Angeles.
In the mid 1970s, a safety rail was installed at the top of the Space Needle, after two people committed suicide by jumping from the tower.
In 1976, Seattle raised bill Gates released the first version of the world’s most common software, Microsoft Basic. By the mid 1980s, Microsoft turned more than 140 million dollars annual revenue and dramatically changed the Seattle landscape. Within a few years, the multi-billion dollar company had made millionaires out of thousands of Seattle residents.
In 1983, the worst murder in the city’s history occurred in the Wha Mee club, in the International district. The filled robbery claimed 13 lives, and remains the worst mass murder in the state’s history.
Modern Seattle enjoys a reputation for business, arts and culture, playing host to several world class events and fairs. The Space needle welcomed its 45 millionth visitor in 2007, and the heavily multi-cultural center continues to inspire musicians, artists and corporate America.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Getting to, from, and through Seattle’s downtown, via car, is a notorious nightmare because only one freeway and one street run through the entire city from north to south. Following directions can also be a bit difficult, because the city is not set up with a traditional grid system. But as a rule North-South streets are Avenues, Boulevard’s, or Ways, while East-West streets are Streets.
Power: 120 V, 60 Hz
Climate: Seattle enjoys typical Coastal Marine weather, with wet winters, brought on by heavy humidity. Summers can be dry and hot, in spite of frequent rain.
Currency: US Dollar
Time Zone: PST (UTC 8)
Pike Place Market?\\ Pioneer Square Park
Fremont Troll?\\ Experience Music Project?\\ Seattle Artwalk
Woodland Park Zoo?\\ Seattle Underground Tour?\\ Puget Sound?
Kerry Park?\\ Coupeville\\\
There are plenty more things to do in historic and fun Seattle.
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