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Seattle, Washington

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Map of Seattle

Space NeedleEnlarge

Space Needle

Seattle is the largest city in the state of Washington, and in the northwestern United States. It is situated between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, about 108 miles (180 km) south of the Canadian border, in King County, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 563,374.

Table of contents
1 Founding
2 Claims to fame: landmarks, character, and notable events
3 Seattle institutions
4 History
5 Government
6 Geography
7 Climate
8 Demographics
9 Official flower, slogan, and song
10 Annexed towns
11 The city's neighborhoods
12 Seattle metro area
13 Major highways
14 Airports
15 See also
16 External links


Most of the Denny Party, the area's first white settlers, arrived at Alki Point on November 13, 1851. They relocated their settlement to Elliott Bay in April, 1852. The first plats for the Town of Seattle were filed on May 23, 1853. The city was incorporated in 1869, after having existed as an incorporated town from 1865 to 1867.

Seattle was named after Noah Sealth, chief of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes, better known as Chief Seattle. David Swinson ("Doc") Maynard, one of the city founders, was the primary advocate for naming the city after Chief Seattle. Previously, the city had been known as Duwamps (or Duwumps); that name is preserved in the Duwamish River.

Claims to fame: landmarks, character, and notable events

Seattle's Pike Place Market

The Space Needle is possibly Seattle's most famous landmark, featured in the logo of the television show Frasier, and dating from the 1962 Century 21 Exposition, a World's Fair. The monorail constructed for the Exposition still runs today between Seattle Center and downtown. It will be torn down when the new, mass-transit monorail is built from Ballard through downtown to West Seattle.

Other famous landmarks include the Smith Tower, Pike Place Market (pictured), the Fremont Troll and the Experience Music Project.

In 1981, Seattle held a contest to come up with a new official nickname. The winner, selected in 1982, was the Emerald City, a slogan submitted by Californian Sarah Sterling-Franklin, and referring to the lush surrounding nature due to the frequent rain. From 1869 to 1982, Seattle's official nickname was the Queen City.

Seattle is sometimes referred to as the "rainy city", even though it gets less rain than many other U.S. cities (see "Climate" section). It is also known as Jet City, due to the heavy influence of Boeing.

Seattle is known as the home of grunge music, has a reputation for heavy coffee consumption, and was the site of the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization shut down by anti-globalist demonstrators.

Seattle residents and people who come from Seattle are known as Seattleites.

Seattle institutions

Cultural events

Museums, galleries, and zoos

Educational institutions

Seattle is home to many institutions of higher learning, including:
Bastyr University is located in nearby Kenmore. Northwest University is located in Kirkland. City University is located in Bellevue.


As of 2003, one minor and two major daily newspapers as well as two major weekly papers are published in Seattle:

Medical centers and hospitals

Seattle is also well served medically;
hospitals in the community include: In addition, Seattle was a pioneer in the development of modern paramedic services with the establishment of Medic One in 1970. A 60 Minutes story on the success of Medic One that aired in 1974 called Seattle "the best place in the world to have a heart attack." Some accounts report that Puyallup, Washington, a city south of Seattle, was the first place west of the Mississippi River to have 911 emergency telephone service.

Seattle's First Hill is also known as "Pill Hill" because, in addition to being the current home of Harborview, Swedish, and Virginia Mason, it was also once the location of the Maynard, Seattle General, and Doctors Hospitals (now merged into Swedish), as well as Cabrini Hospital.

Sports teams

Seattle is home to the following professional sports teams:


Until 2001, Seattle was home to
Boeing. Following a bidding war in which several cities offered huge tax breaks, Boeing moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago. The Seattle area is still home to Boeing's commercial airplanes division and several Boeing plants. Other companies whose headquarters still remain in Seattle include:
AT&T Wireless, Eddie Bauer, Microsoft, and Nintendo of America are based in the suburb of Redmond. The Frank Russell Company and Labor Ready, Inc are based in nearby Tacoma., PACCAR,, and T-Mobile USA are based in Bellevue. Costco is based in Issaquah. Weyerhaeuser is based in Federal Way. R.E.I is based in Kent.


See main article History of Seattle

Seattle has a history of boom and bust, or at least boom and quiescence. Seattle has almost been sent into permanent decline by the aftermaths of its worst periods as a company town, but has typically used those periods to successfully rebuild infrastructure. There have been at least four such cycles:



As of the November 2003 elections, the mayor of Seattle is Greg Nickels, and the members of the Seattle City Council are Jean Godden, Richard Conlin, Peter Steinbrueck, Jan Drago, Tom Rasmussen, Nick Licata, David Della, Richard McIver, and Jim Compton.

Bertha Knight Landes was mayor from 1926 to 1928. She was the first woman mayor of a major American city.

Newspaper publisher Paul Jacob Alexander was a City Councilman from 1956 to 1969.


Seattle is located between Puget Sound and Lake Washington. West beyond the Sound, Seattle faces the Olympic Mountains; across Lake Washington beyond the Eastside suburbs are the Issaquah Alps and the Cascade Range.

The city itself is hilly, though not uniformly so. Some of the hilliest areas are quite near the center, and Downtown rises rather dramatically away from the water. The geography of Downtown and its immediate environs has been significantly altered by regrading projects, a seawall, and the construction of a man-made island, Harbor Island, at the mouth of the city's industrial Duwamish Waterway.

The rivers, forests, lakes, and fields were once rich enough to support one of the world's few sedentary hunter-gatherer societies. Today, a ship canal passes through the city, incorporating Lake Union near the heart of the city and several other natural bodies of water, and connecting Puget Sound to Lake Washington. Opportunities for sailing, skiing, bicycling, camping, and hiking are close by and accessible almost all of the year.

Seattle is located at 47°37'35" North, 122°19'59" West (47.626353, -122.333144)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 369.2 km² (142.5 mi²). 217.2 km² (83.9 mi²) of it is land and 152.0 km² (58.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 41.16% water.

Street layout

See main article Street layout of Seattle

Seattle's streets are laid out in a cardinal-direction grid pattern, except in the central business district, where the grid from Yesler Way north to Stewart Street is oriented 32 degrees west of north, and from Stewart Stewart north to Denny Way, 49 degrees west of north. Only one street, Madison Street, runs uninterrupted from the salt water of Puget Sound in the west to the fresh water of Lake Washington in the east. No street, excluding Interstate 5 and Washington State Route 99--both freeways in whole or in part--runs without interruption from the northern to the southern city limits. This is largely the result of Seattle's topography. Split by the Duwamish River and the Lake Washington Ship Canal, containing four lakes within the city limits, and boasting deep ravines and at least seven hills, there are few more-or-less straight routes where such a road could reasonably be built, even allowing for the short bridge or two.

Bodies of water


Seattle's climate is mild, with the temperature moderated by the sea and protected from winds and storms by the mountains. As previously noted, it is sometimes referred to as the "rainy city", but the rain the city is famous for is actually unremarkable; at 35-38 inches of precipitation a year, it's less than most major Eastern Seaboard cities and many other US cities. (For comparison, New York City averages 47.3 inches.)

What makes Seattle seem so wet is the cloudiness that predominates from about late October well into spring, sometimes clear into July, and that most precipitation falls as light rain, not snow or heavy storms. Seattle has more cloudy days (294 days per year on average vs. 259 in New York City) and rainy days, with few heavy downpours.


As of the census of 2000, there are 563,374 people, 258,499 households, and 113,481 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,593.5/km² (6,717.0/mi²). There are 270,524 housing units at an average density of 1,245.4/km² (3,225.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 70.09% Caucasian, 8.44% African American, 1.00% Native American, 13.12% Asian, 0.50% Pacific Islander, 2.38% from other races, and 4.46% from two or more races. 5.28% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 258,499 households out of which 17.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.7% are married couples living together, 8.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 56.1% are non-families. 40.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.08 and the average family size is 2.87.

In the city the population is spread out with 15.6% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 18 to 24, 38.6% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 98.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $45,736, and the median income for a family is $62,195. Males have a median income of $40,929 versus $35,134 for females. The per capita income for the city is $30,306. 11.8% of the population and 6.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 13.8% are under the age of 18 and 10.2% are 65 or older.

Official flower, slogan, and song

Annexed towns

The city's neighborhoods

Annexation dates follow each name, unless the neighborhood was part of the area of first incorporation.

Seattle metro area

The Seattle metro area is made up of some or all of the following counties:

Complete listings of the cities in the immediate area can be found in the county listings above. The following list is a subset of the full list:

Major highways


See also

External links

Regions of Washington
Central Washington | Columbia Plateau | Eastern Washington | Greater Puget Sound | Inland Empire | Kitsap Peninsula | Olympic Peninsula | Palouse | Puget Sound | San Juan Islands | Western Washington | Yakima Valley
Largest Cities
Auburn | Bellevue | Bellingham | Bremerton | Edmonds | Everett | Federal Way | Kennewick | Kent | Kirkland | Lakewood | Olympia | Redmond | Renton | Richland | Seattle | Shoreline | Spokane | Tacoma | Vancouver
Counties of Washington
Adams | Asotin | Benton | Chelan | Clallam | Clark | Columbia | Cowlitz | Douglas | Ferry | Franklin | Garfield | Grant | Grays Harbor | Island | Jefferson | King | Kitsap | Kittitas | Klickitat | Lewis | Lincoln | Mason | Okanogan | Pacific | Pend Oreille | Pierce | San Juan | Skagit | Skamania | Snohomish | Spokane | Stevens | Thurston | Wahkiakum | Walla Walla | Whatcom | Whitman | Yakima