The History of Seattle
Seattle, Washington is located in the northwestern United States. It is approximately 100 miles south of the Canadian border, and it is the largest city in America's Pacific Northwest region. Seattle is a significant seaport city located between Lake Washington and Puget Sound.
The area now known as Seattle was first inhabited by the Duwamish Tribe. They are said to have inhabited seventeen villages around Elliot Bay. The first European parties arrived in the area around 1851. One party was led by a man named Luther Collins, who helped to settle a location around the Duwamish River. Another group, led by Arthur Denny, inhabited the area around Alki Point during the same time period. The Denny Party is credited with the founding of Seattle. Seattle was named after Chief Sealth, a member of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes.
In 1860, many Chinese immigrants arrived in Seattle. Most of them settled in Occidental Park. In the 1880s, the economy slowed down and many workers blamed their lack of work on the Chinese citizens. They complained that the Chinese were providing cheap labor and that they were stealing jobs from white citizens. This unrest resulted in the Chinese riots of 1885 and 1886. Chinese citizens were rounded up by angry mobs and forced onto ships that stood by to transport them away from Seattle. President Cleveland declared martial law on the city of Seattle. Federal troops and militia were eventually called out to quell the riot and control the mobs.
Great Seattle Fire of 1889
In June of 1889, a fire destroyed the center of Seattle's business district. The fire was caused by a worker at a cabinet-making shop who allowed glue to boil over into a gasoline fire. The flames engulfed the shop and spread through the entire block. The flames were probably worsened by the dry summer that Seattle was experiencing at the time. The fire was the most destructive in Seattle's history, and it destroyed about twenty-five blocks. Some accounts claim no fatalities. However, some say that a small boy was the only casualty, and that many others died while they helped to clean up the mess. The fire caused approximately $20,000,000 worth of destruction.
The Gold Rush and the Great Depression
In 1896, gold was discovered in Canada's Yukon. As a result, Seattle was flooded with gold miners en route to the Yukon. This strengthened the local economy of Seattle and several nearby towns. Many Seattle businesses were founded during this period of economic prosperity, including UPS and Nordstrom. However, several decades later, Seattle was adversely affected by The Great Depression. Many of the city's residents struggled to find work during that time.
Seattle has several nicknames, including "Timber Town" and "The Emerald City." It was previously called "Timber Town" due to its prevalence of dense forests. In the 1800s, a famous sawmill called Henry Yesler's provided jobs for locals and stimulated Timber Town's economy. The name "Emerald City" was perhaps chosen due to the lush green forests in the area. Some say "Emerald City" was a name that arose as a result of a contest to give the city a new name.
Seattle is famous for its music scene. Grunge music originated there with bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. Jimi Hendrix was also born in Seattle. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest electric guitar musicians of all time.
Places to Visit
The Space Needle is a tower built for the 1962 World's Fair, and it is probably the most famous structure in Seattle. The Needle stands at over 600 feet tall. There is an observation deck built on the structure. A restaurant is located inside. Tourists can travel to the top of The Space Needle via elevator. At the top of the building, visitors are rewarded with a beautiful view of the city.
Pioneer Square is a place to visit for those who would like to learn more about Seattle's history. The square is located in the downtown area. It was the place where Seattle's founders first settled in 1852. Yesler Way is the main street that runs through Pioneer Square from east to west. Pioneer Square now encompasses several art galleries, cafes, nightclubs and bars. The square is popular among locals and tourists.
The Starbucks franchise opened their first coffee shop in downtown Seattle in 1971. The original store still stands in the Pike Place Market shopping center.