The New International Encyclopædia/Seattle
SEATTLE, sē̇-ăt′t’l. The largest city of Washington and the county-seat of King County, situated on the eastern shore of Puget Sound, 864 miles by water north of San Francisco, Cal., and 185 miles by rail north of Portland, Oregon (Map: Washington, C 2). It is a terminal point of the Canadian Pacific, the Northern Pacific, and the Great Northern railroads, the first named using the tracks of the Northern Pacific for its entry into the city. Transportation facilities by water, too, are excellent. Besides several coastwise steamship lines to San Francisco, the principal ports of Alaska, etc., there are regular lines to Japan, China, Siberia, the Philippines, and Honolulu. Communication is maintained also, but more irregularly, with ports of South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia.
Seattle is magnificently situated midway between the Cascade and Coast ranges, with Puget Sound in front and Lake Washington at its rear. Green and Union lakes are within the municipal limits, and the Duwamish River flows through the city. The business quarter occupies the lower level, near the river and sea. Planks, gravel, macadam, asphalt, wooden blocks, and vitrified brick constitute the paving materials of the more important thoroughfares.
Denny and Kinnear, Lincoln, Volunteer, Woodland, and Washington are the chief parks, together with the beautiful and extensive grounds of the State University and of Fort Lawton. The annual appropriation for the maintenance of parks is about $60,000. Edifices of importance are the city hall, county court-house, the high school, Providence Hospital, and the seven buildings of the University of Washington (q.v.). The Federal Government has purchased for $150,000 land on which to erect a $750,000 building for its various departments. A public library building ($200,000), the gift of Andrew Carnegie, is in course of construction (1903), the site having been acquired by the city at a cost of $100,000. The Public Library contains some 40,000 volumes.
Commercially and industrially, Seattle is one of the foremost cities of the Pacific Coast. It has valuable fisheries and a tributary region rich in timber and in mineral and agricultural resources. The opening of the Alaskan gold fields, for which the city is a popular sailing point, and the development of trade with the Orient, especially with the Philippines since the Spanish-American War, have contributed to the remarkable growth of the city in recent years. The waterway connecting Puget Sound with Lakes Union and Washington, which is now under construction by the Federal Government, will add much to its shipping advantages. The project contemplates the creation of a canal, nearly eight miles long and of sufficient depth for the largest merchant and war vessels, leading to the fine fresh-water harbor afforded by Lake Washington. The value of Seattle's trade by sea in 1901 was $45,596,067, including goods to the amount of $6,958,613 carried to Japan by a single line. In that year shipments by water included some 25,000,000 feet of lumber, 470,000 tons of coal, 88,000 bales of cotton, 1,214,000 bushels of wheat, and 475,000 barrels of flour. Large quantities of beer, meats, fruit, hay, oats, and manufactured goods are also exported. Seattle is one of the chief ports of the country for the receipt and shipment of gold and silver. The Federal Government in 1898 established an assay office here. Lumber and shingles constitute the principal shipments by rail to Eastern markets.
Manufacturing interests, too, are of importance. In the census year 1900, $10,132,000 capital was invested in the various industries, which had a production valued at $26,373,000. The manufacture of lumber, slaughtering and meat-packing, flour-milling, fish canning and preserving, the manufacture of foundry and machine shop products and bridge work, ship and boat building, the roasting and grinding of coffee and spices, bottling, and the manufacture of confectionery, dairy products, furniture, and carriages, are the leading industries. Electric power, used in Seattle for manufacturing and other purposes, is derived from Snoqualmie Falls, on the river of the same name, 24 miles from the city. The falls are 270 feet high, with water power at high water estimated at 100,600 horse power, and at low water 30,000 horse power. The Puget Sound Naval Station is at Port Orchard, 14 miles from Seattle. Here is a dock 650 feet long, constructed at a cost of more than $600,000.
The government is vested in a mayor, elected biennially, and a common council, consisting of a single chamber. The administrative officers include a treasurer, comptroller, corporation counsel, boards of public works, health, parks, library, etc. The public school affairs are controlled by a board of education, separate from the municipality. The water-works, which cost $2,500,000, are owned by the city. The daily supply is 23,000,000 gallons. The reservoirs in the city have a storage capacity of 50,000,000 gallons. The municipal water revenues in 1901 were $227,000. The city is engaged (1903) in the installation of an electric plant to cost $550,000.
First settled in 1852, Seattle was laid out in 1853 and named after a noted Indian chief. In 1856 it was unsuccessfully attacked by the Indians. The business portion was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1889, the loss aggregating about $10,000,000. The population in 1870 was 1107, and in 1880, 3533; in 1890, 42,837; in 1900, 80,671.