|Seattle, Washington a.k.a. “The Emerald City” (due to the lush evergreen trees in the area and to pull attention away from its other name “The Rainy City”. It’s a gateway to Alaska, The Queen City, The Jet City.
2006: Population – 578,700 with a metropolitan population of 3.8 million
Believed to be the birthplace to grunge music, reputation for being the largest coffee consumption city, birthplace for Starbucks and Seattle’s Best, and Tully’s. Seattle has the highest percentage of college graduates in the U.S., and home to one of the U.S. largest gay populations. The true town of “Boom” or “Bust”. It thrived and demised on its big booms … the lumber industry boom in its beginnings, till it burnt down. THe Panic of 1893. The Klondike Gold rush 1897, until it went bust. The ship building boom. The Boeing boom. The Microsoft boom. the .dotcom boom. Inhabited by nomads and tribes for 4,000 years – since the end of the glacial period (c. 8,000 BC – 10,000 years ago); First inhabited by the Duwamish Tribe with some 13 villages in the area of what is Seattle today as the first recorded inhabitation in 1850’s. Then the Denny party moved in 1851 to Alki beach and started the foundations of Seattle. Of course, there was a reason the native tribes did not inhabit that area, and they quickly felt the wrath of the area and decided to move to Elliot Bay where downtown Seattle now sits. A fellow named “Doc Maynard” moved in just south of the Denny’s. The area was first called “Mud Flats” because they chose to build the city of Seattle on top of mud flats. Little did they plan or organize, not knowing the tides, and the severe flooding that constantly took place on the space that they chose. So from the lumber industry boom, just kept filling in the streets with dirt, rock, and sawdust. The roads became quicksand. For 25 years. They continued with the lumbering and shipping the wood to San Francisco. Henry Yesler moved in and brought the first steam sawmill to the region. Struggling with the flooding, and battles with the Native Americans, it was a difficult city to live in. Prostitution, liquor, gambling, opium dens, etc. became prevalent in the downtown area. Rivalry with its sister city Tacoma also made competition tough. 1873 the Railway chose Tacoma over Seattle making times difficult. The railway didn’t hit Seattle till 1884. It wasn’t till 1906 before Seattle got a major rail passenger terminal. Seattle was often lawless and had a corrupt mayor. Lynch law was prevalent, schools barely operated, and indoor plumbing was a nightmare. Those who lived on the hills ran their sewage down into the downtown area in hollowed out wooden tubes, with current drifts from Tacoma, and dumping into the Bay, with tides and what-not, it all cess-pooled in the original Skid Row, that is now downtown Seattle. Sewage came in with the tides. The mudflat base kept making potholes throughout the city, regardless of how much they filled them with dirt and sawdust. When one pothole became so large a boy drowned in it, the city realized they had to face this problem as the pothole became 8 feet deep. The Great Seattle Fire of 1889 pretty much burnt down the entire city. Starting in a glue factory, spreading to a paint factory, then to a warehouse holding explosives and gunpowder, during low tide with no fire trucks and means to fight the fire, the city was essentially demolished burning 29 city blocks. The city rebuilt, replacing the wooden ash structure piles with brick and mortar – requiring a building code to mandate that. The city was renamed to “Seattle” – named after “Chief Noah Sealth” who was chief of the two tribes living in the area – anglicized to “Seattle”. Within a year after the fire, the population grew from 25,000 to 40,000. Mainly from the large amounts of construction jobs created from the fire. While rebuilding the city, they filled in the mudflats, and built a waffle-iron effect of a city in the downtown area. Building on top of buildings, levels, and layers – causing many new problems. This is why Seattle has an underground labyrinth of mazes. (which I’ll write about later) Now a booming city of technology and industry, a fascinating place to visit, with arts, culture, music, and business opportunities galore. The largest city in the Pacific Northwest, located in the United States, in Washington, between Puget Sound and Lake Washington. Nearly 108 miles south of the US-Canadian border, in King County.
Seattle from the docks
View of Seattle from Capital Hill