Magazine article Information Outlook

Surrounded by History

Magazine article Information Outlook

Surrounded by History

Article excerpt

When you look at the mountains and water visible from Seattle, you are seeing evidence of tectonic forces and their associated earthquakes and volcanoes.

Mount Rainier, that beautiful white peak towering just southeast of Seattle, is one of four potentially active volcanoes in Washington. Weather permitting, you'll be able to see Rainier from downtown Seattle.

Arriving by plane, you may see the line of snow-covered peaks that dwarf the rest of the Cascade mountain range. Those are the volcanoes. Mount St. Helens is the active one, about 170 miles to the southeast of Seattle. From the air, it looks like its top has been broken off (because it was, in 1980).

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You can see the remains of glacial scouring when you look at Seattle's hills, at Puget Sound, and at Lake Washington. People have lived here for at least 4,000 years, and perhaps for much longer than that. Newcomers--Europeans--began to explore the Washington coast in the 16th century, and the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived in Washington in 1805.

With its early growth stimulated by the lumber industry, the city of Seattle was incorporated in 1869. The original "Skid Road" is here in Seattle and was used to slide logs downhill to Yesler's sawmill (also known as "Skid Row," it is now known as Yesler Way).

Much of downtown burned to the ground in the Great Fire of 1889, but just a few years later, 1895-1897, the discovery of gold in Alaska and Canada's Yukon and Klondike valleys turned Seattle into a boomtown for the second time. …

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