www.whyville.net Aug 28, 2011 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Cities of America: Seattle

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Hello! Today I will be continuing my series on different cities in America. This week, I chose Seattle, WA, the coffee capital of the world. Seattle is a beautiful, large city, the largest in the Pacific Northwest. (At least, the American Pacific Northwest.)

Where is Seattle?

Seattle is located about 100 miles south of the Canadian border, about 90 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, about 20 miles north of Olympia, which is the capital of Washington State, and about 300 miles north of Portland, Oregon. I was quite surprised at how close it was to the state of Idaho, being only about 200 miles west from it. Seattle is just about surrounded by water. It has Pudget Sound (which is a huge body of water that eventually connects to the Pacific Ocean) to the west of the city, and Lake Washington (wonder why they called it that . . .) just to the east, and coming down to the south, and up to the north.

History of Seattle

As many of you may have figured out, Seattle was not colonized by Americans until the mid 1800's. Before that, it was all Native American land, particularly the Suquamish Native American tribe. (Have fun trying to pronounce that . . .) Chief Noah Selth was one of the founders of the city. And, as you may have guessed, it is named after his home town Seahrgrowaaa . . . a. No, just kidding. It was named after him. Before 1852, it was often called Duwamps. (When American settlers very first began coming in 1851, they actually called it New York. After that, they added a Chinook word meaning "by- and- by," and started calling it New York-Alki. Thank goodness they changed it to Seattle shortly after . . .)

After that, Seattle slowly began growing. It had a mill, a nice down town area, a lovely port, and a couple thousand citizens. (The first census they took, in 1869 showed a population of about 2,000 people. A census taken of Seattle, in 1900, showed a population of around 80,000, which was huge!) The mill was Seattle's main way of commerce. It was owned by a man named Yesler Way. It's production mainly went to San Francisco, which at the time was the largest city in the West, but supplied just about every where on Pudget Sound.

In the 1870's, the Northern Pacific Railroad Company announced that the west station of it's transcontinental railroad would be in Tacoma, about 40 miles South of Seattle. Seattle has been beating up on Tacoma ever since . . . Local leaders were quite disappointed, until 1883, when they finally made a deal with North Pacific after it completed it's railroad, to build a station in Seattle. The population of Seattle started increasing exponentially. One estimate even says that Seattle was gaining 1,000 residents a month in 1889. Even by today's standard's, that is a major growth. In March alone, it is said 500 new buildings were in construction, mainly made out of wood. (Keep that in mind . . . it's important in a minute.)

Then, on June 6th, 1889, a huge fire broke out of Seattle's mill, destroying most (about 115 acres) of downtown Seattle. Now, remember, most of the buildings were made out of wood. Not good when there's a fire. No one was killed in the fire, but it was devastating. Millions of dollars in damage was done. But Seattle's strong citizens would not accept defeat. They immediately rebuilt literally ON TOP of the burnt downtown. You can still see some of the old city on Seattle's Underground Tour. (More on that later . . .) Seattle continued to grow.

The Panic of 1893 (Panic - similar to a depression/recession) hurt Seattle. But, in 1897, gold was found in Alaska, and the Klondike Gold Rush was on. Seattle advertised how close it was to Alaska, and how it already had ties to it, and Seattle was back to booming. For a while, it was even considered that Alaska was Seattle's property. Three more transcontinental railroads came to Seattle, and that was all it needed. It became a popular port to trade with Asia and the northern pacific.

In 1909, with Seattle's population around 290,000 citizens, it decided to sponsor an international fair. People came from all over the world to go to the fair, and it really helped Seattle. A few years later, World War 1 started, and Seattle was changed. It's shipbuilding industry was revolutionized, and it became a major builder for the navy. In 1962, Seattle was doing so well, it decided to host a full-fledged World's Fair. The Seattle Space Needle was built for the event, and remains a major Seattle landmark even today.

Today, Seattle is a large city, with a diverse population, and a lot of different things going on. Seattle is a wonderful city.

Citizens of Seattle

Today, Seattle has just under 600,000 people, making it the 24th largest city in the United States. Seattle's citizens have always been diverse. Seattle is the most populated city in the Pacific Northwest, and is also one of the largest.

Living in Seattle

People living in Seattle can enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Seattle, like Portland from my last article, encourages it's citizens to get out, and exercise, and to live a healthier, greener lifestyle. They also have lots of Starbucks. Last time I was there, I counted 16 in the first 2 hours I was there. Seattle is a big port town, and also has a lot of farmland near by. You can always find some fresh fruit, and fish. Seattle's citizens have a long life expectancy, and a low obesity rate.

Seattle is a very cultural city. It has big theaters, and art schools. You find street performers on every corner. Seattle has beautiful, architectural city. There's even a park dedicated to sculptors. (See below.) Overall, life in Seattle is very healthy, and cultural, and I think a life in Seattle is a nice life.

Seattle Landmarks

Seattle Space Needle - built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. At 605 feet (184 meters) it was the tallest structure east of the Mississippi River when it was completed in 1962.

Pike's Place Market - Ocean-front farmer's market, with thousands of people attending every week. You can find everything from cashews to fish, to even the first Starbucks (See below) all on this strip about half a mile from the beach at Pudget Sound.

The First Starbucks - One of the probably 15,000 in Seattle. Takes hours to get anything. Located on Pike's Place Market.

Seattle Underground Tour - Remember when I was talking about the fire, and mentioned that they literally built on top of the old city? Well, the old city is still there. You can take a tour from one of several colorful tour guides, filled with knowledge of history, and with a great sense of humor.

Sculptor Park - A large park on western park of Seattle, right on it's beach into Pudget Sound. It is filled with abstract, cool, some times humorous sculptors.

Seattle really is a great town, with beautiful landmarks, not too far from Vancouver, B.C. Hope you all get a chance to visit someday.

Off to Seattle to get a Starbucks. Which one should I go to ?

Author's Note: Sources: www.undergroundtour.com
Picture sources: Google Maps


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