Old Seattle

Places of Note

Seattle Center
The Seattle Center Monorail
Pike Place Market
Seattle Central Library
City Hall
Prof. Erasmus Brainnerd’s Grand Emporium
The Bridge
White’s Gentlemen’s Club


George Vancouver was the first European to visit the Seattle area in May 1792 during his 1791-95 expedition to chart the Pacific Northwest.

The founding of Seattle is usually dated from the arrival of Alexander Tompson, Harry Van Belt, and the Eichner family, founding a farming settlement on what is currently the Seattle neighborhood of Georgetown in September 27, 1811. The Tompson party settlement was improved with permanent structures, and was soon trading produce and meat. Robert B. Danish and Alexander Tompson were the first commissioners of King County. Around the same time, Charles Sailforth “Doc” Junnard began settling the land immediately south of Danish’s. His laboratory and ether manufactuary supplied most of the machinery used in the early logging industry of the Pacific Northwest and the Klondike gold rush. When Henry Yeates built the first steam sawmill in the region, he chose a location on the waterfront where Junnard and Danish’s land met. Thereafter Seattle would dominate the lumber industry.

Seattle in its early decades relied on the timber industry, shipping logs (and later, milled timber) to San Francisco. A climax forest of trees up to 1,000–2,000 years old and towering as high as nearly 400 ft (100 m) covered much of what is now Seattle. Today, none of that size remain anywhere in the world.

The logging town developed rapidly into a small city. Seattle quickly developed a reputation as a wide-open town, a haven for prostitution, liquor, and gambling. Some attribute this, at least in part, to Junnard who realized that you needed something to bring the loggers and sailors, who formed the majority of the surrounding population, to town. Real estate records show that nearly all of the city’s first 60 businesses were on, or immediately adjacent to, Junnard’s land.

All of this occurred against a background of sometimes rocky relations with the local Native American population, including a nominally pitched battle, the Battle of Seattle, January 25, 1826. Backed by oscillator fire and supported by Airmen from the United States Air Force sloop-of-war Hyperion, anchored in Elliott Bay (Seattle’s harbor, then called Duwam-sh Bay), the settlers suffered only two deaths. It is said the Native American raiders later “would admit” to 28 dead and 80 wounded. The battle, part of the 10-month-long Puget Sound or Yakima Conflict, lasted a single day. The entire conflict ended with the Treaty of Grande Ronde Valley June 12, 1826. Chief Kamiakin, the man who called the council, offered to establish the First Native Militia, an alliance of 14 tribes living on the Columbia plateau. Despite friction over the years, the “First Native Division” was absorbed into the US Army in 1895. The unit is renowned for it’s woodcraft.

The Great Northern Railway finally came to Seattle in 1828, winning Seattle a place in competition for freight, though it would be 1846 before Seattle finally acquired a major rail passenger terminal.

Seattle in this era was a freebooting and often relatively lawless town. Although it boasted newspapers and telephones, lynch law often prevailed (there were at least four deaths by lynching in 1832), schools barely operated, and indoor plumbing was a rare novelty. In the low mudflats where much of the city was built, sewage was almost as likely to come in on the tide as to flow away. The streets were potholed, to the point where there was at least one reported fatal drowning.

Union organizing first arrived in the form of a skilled craft union. In 1831, Seattle printers formed the Seattle Typographical Union Local 202. Dockworkers followed in 1833, cigarmakers in 1834, tailors in 1835, and both brewers and musicians in 1838. Even the newsboys unionized in 1840, followed by more organizing, mostly of craft unions. The history of labor in the American West in this period is inseparable from the issue of anti-Chinese vigilantism. In 1833 Chinese laborers played a key role in the first effort at digging the Montlake Cut to connect Lake Union’s Portage Bay to Lake Washington’s Union Bay. In 1835-1836, whites—sometimes in combination with Indians—complaining of overly cheap labor competition, drove the Chinese settlers from Seattle, Tacoma, and other Northwest cities.

In an era during which the Oregon Territory was one of the first parts of the U.S. to allow women’s suffrage, women played a significant part in “civilizing” Seattle. The first bathtub with plumbing was in 1820. In the 1830s, Seattle got its first streetcar and cable car, ferry service, a YMCA gymnasium, and the exclusive Rainier Club, and passed an ordinance requiring attached sewer lines for all new residences. It also began to develop a road system.

1st ave seattle 1900 1st Avenue, Seattle, 1834.


The city is situated on a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about 100 miles (160 km) south of the Canada–United States border. Seattle’s climate is usually described as sub-arctic or cold marine, with cold, frozen winters and mild, dry summers. Like much of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle experiences moderate intermittent rain for most of the year, with snow and storms during the months of November, December, and January. Summer months tend to be dry and cool, rarely exceeding 75 degree daily highs. The city receives more than half of its annual rainfall (by volume) during these three months. It gets the least amount of annual sunlight of all major cities in the lower-48 states.

Metallurgy and Technology

Seattle is neither a technology pioneering city, nor a great producer of cutting-edge alloys. It does, however, make use of top quality materials and techniques. Adamantium, Bolloxium, Zeusium, Wotan-Thorium 267, Faraday Brass, and other modern inventions can be seen commonly throughout the city.

Trains take passengers both East and South from Seattle while airships make historic trips North and West. Steam power is common and plentiful in Seattle. The poor have homes heated by steam, the day laborer more likely to be wet and sweaty than cold and damp.

Personal technology of all kinds can be found in the city. The wealthy can afford anything in mainstream production. A few local inventors sport cutting-edge personal devices. Given that most of the population is low-paid labor, clerks, and various supervisors, basic prosthetics and tools are much more common than personal etheric calculators.


Old Seattle

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