Seattle, Washington

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This article is about the city. For the Suquamish chief, see Chief Seattle.

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Seattle, Washington
Image:Seattle flag.png Image:Seattle seal.png
City flag City seal
City nickname: "The Emerald City"
Location

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Location of Seattle in
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King County and Washington|3=}}

Government
County King
Mayor Greg Nickels NP/Democrat ¹
Physical characteristics
Area
     Land
     Water
369.2 km²
     217.2 km²
     152.0 km²
Population
     Total (2005)
     Density
3,769,257 (metro area)
     573,672 (city proper)
     2638/km²
Latitude 47°37' N
Longitude 122°19' W
Time zone
     Summer (DST)
PST (UTC-8)
     PDT (UTC-7)
Official website: http://www.seattle.gov/
¹ Office officially non-partisan; Nickels is a Democrat

Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located in the U.S. state of Washington between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, nearly 108 miles (174 km) south of the United States–Canadian border in King County, of which it is the county seat.

Seattle was founded in the 1850s named after Chief Seattle, or Sealth. As of 2004, the population estimates of the city given by the U.S. Census Bureau was 571,480, however, in 2005, the city has an estimated population of 573,672 and a metropolitan population of almost 3.8 million. It is sometimes referred to as the "Rainy City", the "Gateway to Alaska", "Queen City", and "Jet City" (due to the heavy influence of Boeing). Its official nickname is "the Emerald City". Seattle is known as the birthplace of grunge music, and has a reputation for heavy coffee consumption. Seattle was also the site of the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization and anti-globalization demonstrations. Seattle residents are known as Seattleites.

Based on per capita income, one of the more reliable measures of affluence, Seattle ranks 36th of 522 areas in the state of Washington to be ranked.

Contents

History

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Founding

Most of the Denny Party, the most prominent of the area's early 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)—a variation of that name is preserved in the name of Seattle's Duwamish River.

Major events

Image:Seattle from kerry park.jpg Major events in Seattle's history include the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, which destroyed the central business district (but took no lives); the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909, which is largely responsible for the current layout of the University of Washington campus; the Seattle General Strike of 1919, the first general strike in the country; the 1962 Century 21 Exposition, a World's Fair; the 1990 Goodwill Games; and the WTO Meeting of 1999, marked by street protests.

On February 28 2001, a state of emergency was declared after the Nisqually Earthquake, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake, rocked the region. Damage was moderate, but served as a reminder that the coastal Pacific Northwest — and the area around the Seattle Fault, in particular — is under a constant threat of earthquakes.

Economic history

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.

Image:Seattle Public Library1.jpg The first such boom was the lumber-industry boom covering the early years of the city (it was during this period that Yesler Way became known as the first "Skid Row", named after the timber skidding down the street to be milled), followed by the construction of an Olmsted-designed park system. Arguably the Klondike Gold Rush constituted a separate, shorter boom during the last years of the 19th century. Image:Building in Seattle.jpg Next came the shipbuilding boom in the early part of the 20th century, followed by the unused city development plan of Virgil Bogue. After World War II the local economy was marked by the expansion of Boeing, fueled by the growth of the commercial aviation industry. When this particular cycle went into a major downturn in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many left the area to look for work elsewhere, and two local real estate agents put up a billboard reading, "Will the last person leaving Seattle — Turn out the lights."

Seattle remained the corporate headquarters of Boeing until 2001, when the company announced a desire to separate its headquarters from its major production facilities. Following a bidding war in which several cities offered huge tax breaks, Boeing moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago, Illinois. The Seattle area is still home to Boeing's commercial airplanes division; several Boeing plants including the Boeing 737, Boeing 747, Boeing 757, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, and Boeing 787 factories; and BECU, formerly the Boeing Employees Credit Union.

The most recent boom centered around Microsoft and other software, Internet, and telecommunications companies, such as Amazon.com and RealNetworks. Even locally headquartered Starbucks held investments in numerous Internet and software interests. Although some of these companies remain relatively strong, the frenzied boom years had ended by early 2001.

Geography and climate

Geography

Image:Seattle map.png 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 an artificial 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.

An active geological fault, the Seattle Fault, runs under the city. It has not been the source of an earthquake during Seattle's existence; however, the city has been hit by four major earthquakes since its founding: December 14, 1872 (magnitude 7.3); April 13, 1949 (7.1); April 29, 1965 (6.5); and February 28, 2001 (6.8). See also Nisqually Earthquake.

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)GR1. 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.

See also: Seattle neighborhoods, List of Seattle parks, Bodies of water of Seattle

Climate

Seattle's climate is mild, with the temperature moderated by the sea and protected from winds and storms by the mountains. The "rainy city" receives an unremarkable 35 to 38 inches (890 to 970 mm) of precipitation a year, less than most major Eastern Seaboard cities, e.g., New York City averages 47.3 inches (1200 mm), but Seattle is cloudy an average of 226 days per year vs. 132 in New York City. Most of the precipitation falls as drizzle or light rain because Seattle is in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains. Average low temperatures range from the mid/upper 30s (just above 0 °C) at night in winter to the mid/upper 70s (mid 20s °C) for summer highs. Seattle's hottest temperature ever recorded was 100 °F (37 °C) on July 20, 1994 and the coldest temperature ever recorded was 0 °F (-17 °C) on January 31, 1950.

80 miles (130 km) to the west, the Hoh Rain Forest, in the Olympic National Park, records an annual average rainfall of 142 inches (3600 mm), and the state capital, Olympia, south of the rain shadow, receives 52 inches (1320 mm). Snow falls on occasion, but rarely sticks very long. Sunnier "California weather" typically dominates from mid-July to mid-September, arriving later and leaving earlier than in Portland, Oregon, to the south.

The Puget Sound Convergence Zone is an important feature of the Seattle area's weather. In the Zone, air arriving in the area from the north meets air flowing in from the south. Both streams of air originate over the Pacific Ocean; airflow is split by the Olympic Mountains to Seattle's West, then reunited by the Cascade Mountains to the East. When the air currents meet, they are forced upward, resulting in convection. An active Convergence Zone results in rain at the very least (snow in the Cascades), and sometimes more severe weather such as thunderstorms and hail. Usually the Zone forms north of Seattle in the Edmonds/Lynnwood area, but depending on the relative strengths of the winds it can range as far south as Pierce County or as far north as Skagit County.

Serious exceptions to Seattle's raininess can occur during El Niño years, when the marine weather systems track to the south, affecting California instead. During the drier summer months, the region's water comes from its mountain snow packs, so El Niño winters not only produce substandard skiing, but can result in water rationing and a shortage of hydro-electric generated power the next summer.

Demographics

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City of Seattle
Population by year [1]
1900 80,671
1910 237,194
1920 315,312
1930 365,583
1940 368,302
1950 467,591
1960 557,087
1970 530,831
1980 493,846
1990 516,259
2000 563,374

As of the U.S. Census of 2000, Seattle had a population of 563,374 and in all the Greater Puget Sound metropolitan area is home to almost 3.8 million people. The population today is approximately 73.40% Caucasian, one of the highest percentages of Caucasians for a major American city. The city also has one of the nation's highest percentages of multiracial ancestry: 4.70% claim ancestry from two or more races. [2] According to the 2000 U.S. census, 13.71% of Seattleites are Asian Americans, 8.44% are African Americans, 1.10% are Native Americans, 0.50% are Pacific Islanders, and 6.84% are from other non-Caucasian backgrounds.

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.

Seattle has seen a major increase in legal and illegal immigration in recent decades. The foreign-born population increased 40% between the 1990 and 2000 census. [3] Although the 2000 census shows only 5.28% of the population as Hispanic or Latino of any race, Hispanics are believed to be the most rapidly growing population group in Washington, with an estimated increase of 10% just in the years 2000 to 2002. [4]

It is estimated that 1.25% of the population is homeless, and that up to 14% of Seattle's homeless are children and young adults. Many people in Seattle are involved with social causes; among the larger local groups nonprofits dealing with poverty and related issues are the Fremont Public Association [5], the Asian Counselling and Referral Service [6], and the Seattle Indian Center [7]. In September 2005, King County adopted a "Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness", one of whose near-term results is a shift of funding from homeless shelter beds to permanent housing. [8]

In 2005, Men's Fitness magazine named Seattle the fittest city in the U.S.

Government and politics

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Image:Fremont Lenin.jpg Seattle is a charter city, with a Mayor-Council form of government, unlike many of its neighbors that use the Council-Manager form. Seattle's mayor and nine city council members are elected at large, rather than by geographic subdivisions. The only other elected office is the city attorney. All offices are non-partisan.

The city government provides more utilities than many cities – either by running the whole operation, such as the water, sewer, and electricity services, or by handling the billing and administration, but contracting out the rest of the operations such as trash and recycling collection. In most neighboring cities, for example, electricity is provided by either a private company such as Puget Sound Energy, or a county public utility district. See the Utilities section for more details.

As with most U.S. cities, the county judicial system (courts and jails) handles felony crimes — the Seattle Municipal Court deals with parking tickets, traffic infractions, and misdemeanors. Seattle does not have its own jail, contracting out inmates it convicts to either the King County Jail (which is located downtown), the Yakima County Jail, or (for short-term holdings) the Renton City Jail. In 2004, there were only 24 murders in Seattle, the fewest since 1965. Violent crime has declined by nearly 42% since 1994, to a rate of approximately seven per 1,000 people. Auto theft has increased about 44% in the same period; the SPD has responded by almost doubling the number of detectives in the auto theft detail, and is starting a "bait car" program. A Money magazine table, using 2001 statistics, ranked Seattle 18th highest in crime rate in the U.S., with 80.5 crimes per 1,000 citizens.

Seattle's politics lean famously to the left compared to the U.S. as a whole, although there is a small libertarian movement. Only one precinct in Seattle, located in the famously exclusive Broadmoor area, voted for Republican George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. In partisan elections, such as for the State Legislature and U.S. Congress, most elections are won by Democrats, with Greens getting more votes than in many other cities.

Official nickname, flower, slogan, and song

In 1981, Seattle held a contest to come up with a new official nickname to replace “the Queen City”, which had been used since 1869 and was also the nickname of Cincinnati, Toronto, Buffalo, Bangor, Maine and Charlotte, North Carolina. The winner, selected in 1982, was "the Emerald City". Submitted by Californian Sarah Sterling-Franklin, it referred to the lush surroundings of Seattle that were the result of frequent rain. Seattle has also been known in the past as the "Jet City" though this nickname, related to Boeing, was entirely unofficial. (This nickname is made reference to in the song "Jet City Woman" by Seattle progressive metal band Queensrÿche.)

Seattle's official flower has been the dahlia since 1913. Its official song has been "Seattle the Peerless City" since 1909. In 1942, its official slogan was "The City of Flowers"; 48 years later, in 1990, it was "The City of Goodwill", for the Goodwill Games held that year in Seattle.

Seattle mayors of note

Among Seattle's notable past politicians is Bertha Knight Landes, mayor from 1926 to 1928. She was the first woman to be mayor of a major American city.

Another, Bailey Gatzert, was mayor from 1875 to 1876. He was the first Jewish mayor of Seattle, narrowly missed being the first Jewish mayor of a major American city (Moses Bloom became mayor of Iowa City, Iowa in 1873), and has been the only Jewish mayor of Seattle so far.

See List of mayors of Seattle for a list of Seattle's mayors going back to 1869.

See also: Current leaders of Seattle, Washington

Sister cities

Seattle is internationally partnered with a number of sister cities to promote global cooperation, cultural exchange and economic collaboration. See List of Seattle sister cities for a complete list.

Economy

Five companies on the 2004 Fortune 500 list of the United States' largest companies, based on total revenue, are currently headquartered in Seattle: financial services company Washington Mutual (#103), insurance company Safeco Corporation (#267), department store Nordstrom (#286), Internet retailer Amazon.com, (#342) and coffee chain Starbucks (#425).

Many Seattle residents work for companies based outside of Seattle proper. Airplane manufacturer Boeing (#21) was the largest company based in Seattle before its 2001 move to Chicago. Because several production facilities remain in the region, Boeing is still a major Seattle employer.

Other Fortune 500 companies popularly associated with Seattle are based in nearby Puget Sound cities. Warehouse club chain Costco Wholesale Corp. (#29), the largest company in Washington, is based in Issaquah. Microsoft (#46) is based in Redmond. So was the cellular telephone pioneer McCaw Cellular, which in 1994 became AT&T Wireless (#120), before being absorbed in 2004 into Cingular. Weyerhaeuser, the forest products company (#95), is based in Federal Way. And Bellevue is home to truck manufacturer PACCAR (#250) and international mobile telephony giant T-Mobile's U.S. subsidiary T-Mobile USA.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has announced a desire to spark a new economic boom driven by the biotechnology industry. Major redevelopment of the South Lake Union neighborhood is underway in an effort to attract new and established biotech companies to the region, joining current biotech companies such as Corixa, Immunex (now part of Amgen), and ZymoGenetics. The effort has public support and some financial backing from Paul Allen.

See List of companies based in Seattle for a more detailed compilation.

In 2005 Forbes magazine ranked Seattle as the most overpriced city in the US based on median home prices and median incomes.

Education

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Seattle has an educated population: of Seattle's population over 25, 47% (vs. a national average of 24%) hold a bachelor's degree or higher; 93% (vs. 80% nationally) have a high school diploma or equivalent. In fact, Seattle has the highest percentage of college graduates of any major U.S. city. In addition to the obvious institutions of education, there are significant adult literacy programs and considerable homeschooling.

Like most urban American public school systems, Seattle Public Schools have been subject to numerous controversies. Seattle's schools desegregated without a court order, but continue to struggle to achieve racial balance in a demographically divided city (the south part of town being much more ethnically diverse than the north). The schools have maintained high enough educational standards to keep white flight (and middle-class flight in general) to a minimum, but some of the area's suburban public school systems — not all of them in wealthy suburbs — have consistently higher test scores. Notably, Seattle schools seem to be failing their minority students, as high academic standards are not realized uniformly by all racial groups in many of the city's secondary schools.

The public school system is supplemented by a moderate number of private schools: four of the high schools are Catholic, one is Lutheran, and six are secular.

Postsecondary education in Seattle is dominated by the University of Washington, with over 40,000 students, making it the largest university in the Pacific Northwest. Most prominent of the city's other universities are Seattle University, a Jesuit school, and Seattle Pacific University, founded by the Free Methodists. There are also a handful of smaller schools, mainly in the fine arts and business and psychology. Seattle is also served by North Seattle, Seattle Central, and South Seattle Community Colleges.

Culture

Landmarks

Image:Pike place market small.jpg

The Space Needle is Seattle's most recognizable landmark, having been featured in the logo of the television show Frasier and the backgrounds of the television series Grey's Anatomy, not to mention countless films. The Needle dates from the 1962 Century 21 Exposition, a World's Fair. Contrary to popular belief, the Space Needle is neither the tallest structure in Seattle, nor is it in downtown. This misconception results from the Space Needle often being photographed from Queen Anne Hill, where it is closer to the viewer than are the skyscrapers of downtown. The surrounding fairgrounds have been converted into Seattle Center, which remains the site for many local civic and cultural events, such as Bumbershoot and the Bite of Seattle.

A monorail runs from Seattle Center to Westlake Center, a downtown shopping mall -- a distance of about a mile.

Other notable Seattle landmarks include the Smith Tower, Pike Place Market, the Fremont Troll, the Experience Music Project) (which is at Seattle Center), the new Seattle Central Library, the Washington Mutual Tower, and the Columbia Center, which is the fourth tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River and the twelfth tallest in the nation. (On June 16, 2004, the 9/11 Commission reported that the original plan for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks included the Columbia Center as one of ten targeted buildings.) [9]

The original Starbucks Coffee is in Seattle's Pike Place Market.

Annual cultural events and fairs

Among Seattle's best-known annual cultural events and fairs are the 24-day Seattle International Film Festival, Northwest Folklife over the Memorial Day weekend, numerous Seafair events throughout the summer months (ranging from a Bon Odori celebration to hydroplane races), the Bite of Seattle, and Bumbershoot over the Labor Day weekend. All are typically attended by over 100,000 people annually, as are Hempfest and two separate Independence Day celebrations.

Several dozen Seattle neighborhoods have one or more annual street fairs, and many have an annual parade or foot race. The largest of the street fairs feature hundreds of craft and food booths and multiple stages with live entertainment, and draw more than 100,000 people over the course of a weekend; the smallest are strictly neighborhood affairs with a few dozen craft and food booths, barely distinguishable from more prominent neighborhoods' weekly farmers' markets.

Other significant events include numerous Native American powwows, a Greek Festival hosted by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Montlake, and numerous ethnic festivals associated with Festal at Seattle Center.

As in most large cities, there are numerous other annual events of more limited interest, ranging from book fairs; the premier anime convention in the Pacific Northwest, Sakura-Con; and specialized film festivals to a two-day, 8,000-rider Seattle-to-Portland bicycle ride.

Performing arts

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Seattle is a significant center for the performing arts. The century-old Seattle Symphony Orchestra is among the world's most recorded orchestras [10] and performs primarily at Benaroya Hall. The Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet, which perform at McCaw Hall (which opened 2003 on the site of the former Seattle Opera House at Seattle Center), are comparably distinguished, with the Opera being particularly known for its performances of the works of Richard Wagner and the PNB School (founded in 1974) ranking as one of the top three ballet training institutions in the United States. [11], [12] The Seattle Youth Symphony is the largest symphonic youth organization in the United States, and among the most distinguished.

In addition, Seattle has about twenty live theater venues, a slim majority of them being associated with fringe theater. It has a strong local scene for poetry slams and other performance poetry, and several venues that routinely present public lectures or readings. The largest of these is Seattle's 900-seat, Romanesque Revival Town Hall on First Hill.

Seattle is often thought of as the home of grunge rock musicians like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Temple of the Dog, and Mudhoney, all of whom reached vast audiences in the early 1990s. The city is also home to such varied musicians as avant-garde jazz musicians Bill Frisell and Wayne Horvitz, rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot, smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G, and such poppier rock bands as Goodness and the Presidents of the United States of America. Such musicians as Jimi Hendrix, Duff McKagan, Nikki Sixx, and Quincy Jones spent their formative years in Seattle. Ann and Nancy Wilson of the band Heart, often attributed to Seattle, were actually from the neighboring suburb of Bellevue, as were progressive metal band Queensrÿche.

Since the grunge era, the Seattle area has hosted a diverse and influential alternative music scene. The Seattle-based record label Sub Pop—the first to sign Nirvana—has signed such non-grunge bands as Sunny Day Real Estate, The Postal Service, and The Shins. Other Seattle-area bands of note in this period include Death Cab for Cutie (Bellingham), Foo Fighters, Maktub, Modest Mouse (Issaquah), and Sleater-Kinney (Olympia).

Earlier Seattle-based popular music acts include the collegiate folk group The Brothers Four; The Wailers, a 1960s garage band; the Allies and the Heaters (later "the Heats"), 1980s teen-pop bands; from that same era, the more sophisticated pop of the short-lived Visible Targets and the still-performing Young Fresh Fellows and Posies; and the pop-punk of The Fastbacks and the outright punk of the Fartz (later Ten Minute Warning), The Gits, and Seven Year Bitch.

Spoken word and poetry are also staples of the Seattle arts scene, paralleling the explosion of the indie scene during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Seattle's performance poetry scene blossomed with the importation of the poetry slam from Chicago (its origin) by transplant Paul Granert. This and the proliferation of weekly readings/open mics and poetry-friendly club venues like the Weathered Wall, the OK Hotel, and the Ditto Tavern (all now defunct), allowed spoken-word/performance poetry to take off in a big way. The Seattle Poetry Festival (launched first as the Poetry Circus in 1997) has featured local, regional, national, and international names in poetry such as Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Ted Jones, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ismael Reed, Seku Sundiata, and many others. Regionally famed poets like Bart Baxter, Tess Gallagher, and Rebecca Brown have also been featured at the Poetry Festival, as well as numerous other events such as the world-famous Bumbershoot Arts Festival.

Museums and art collections

Image:Buildings of Seattle 1893.jpg The Henry Art Gallery opened in 1927, making it the first museum in Washington. The main Seattle Art Museum opened in 1933. Art collections are also housed at the Frye Art Museum and the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

Regional history collections are at the Museum of History and Industry and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Industry-specific collections are housed at the Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, and Museum of Flight. Regional ethnic collections include Nordic Heritage Museum and the Wing Luke Asian Museum.

In addition, Seattle has a thriving artist-run gallery scene, including 10 year veteran Soil Art Gallery, and the newer Crawl Space Gallery.

See also: Museums and galleries of Seattle

Other cultural institutions

The Woodland Park Zoo, opened as a private zoo in 1889, is one of the oldest on the West Coast, and has been a leader in innovations in naturalistic zoo exhibits. The Seattle Aquarium has been open on the downtown waterfront since 1977. The Seattle Underground Tour, visiting many of the places that existed mostly before the great fire, is also popular.

Media

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Seattle's leading newspapers are the daily Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer; they share their advertising and business departments under a Joint Operating Agreement, which (as of 2004) the Times is seeking to terminate or renegotiate.

The most prominent weeklies are the Seattle Weekly and the Stranger. Both of these consider themselves "alternative" papers; the Stranger has a reputation for a younger and hipper readership, the Weekly has a reputation as more serious and slightly more politically conservative, but both make frequent forays into each other's editorial and demographic turf. There are also several ethnic newspapers and numerous neighborhood newspapers.

Seattle is also well served by television and radio. Seattle's major network television affiliates are KOMO 4 (ABC), KING-TV 5 (NBC), KIRO 7 (CBS), KCTS 9 (PBS), KSTW 11 (UPN), KCPQ 13 (FOX), KONG 16/6 (Ind.), KTWB 22/10 (WB), and KWPX 33/3 (i); five of them can be seen across Canada via digital cable or satellite. Seattle cable viewers also receive CBUT 2 CBC from Vancouver, British Columbia, often as cable channel 99.

Leading radio stations include KUBE 93.3, KNDD 107.7, KIRO-AM 710, KOMO-AM 1000, and NPR affiliates KUOW-FM 94.9 and KPLU-FM 88.5 (Tacoma). Other notable stations include KEXP-FM 90.3 (affiliated with EMP) and KNHC-FM 89.5, owned by the public school system and operated by students of Nathan Hale High School. Many Seattle radio stations are also available through internet radio, with KUOW, KNHC, and KEXP being notable web radio innovators.

On the internet Seattle is covered by the blogs Seattlest, Seattle Metroblogging and Slog

Sports

Club Sport League Stadium Logo
Seattle Seahawks Football National Football League (NFL) - NFC Qwest Field Image:SeattleSeahawks 100.png
Seattle Mariners Baseball Major League Baseball - AL Safeco Field Image:SeattleMariners 100.png
Seattle SuperSonics Basketball National Basketball Association (NBA) KeyArena Image:SeattleSuperSonics 100.png
Seattle Storm Basketball Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) KeyArena Image:SeattleStorm 100.png
Seattle Thunderbirds Ice Hockey Western Hockey League KeyArena Image:Seattle Thunderbirds Logo.jpg
Seattle Sounders Soccer USL First Division (men's)
W-League (women's)
Qwest Field Image:Seattle Sounders Logo.jpg

The first major professional modern day sports franchise started in Seattle was the Seattle SuperSonics (known to most as the "Seattle Sonics") NBA team (1967). They were joined by the Seattle Pilots baseball team in 1969. Both team names reflected the local importance of the aerospace industry. The Pilots played in Seattle for only one year at Sick's Stadium, previously home to several minor league teams (most notably the Seattle Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League), before relocating to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their sole season was immortalized in Jim Bouton's book Ball Four.

Legal wrangling over the move of the Pilots pressured Major League Baseball to award Seattle a new franchise, the Mariners, in 1977. The Mariners would play in the newly built Kingdome, an indoor sports facility they shared with the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL, who started play the previous year. For a time, all three of the city's major sports teams used the Kingdome, despite ongoing maintenance issues with the venue. After some controversy (voters defeated two funding initiatives), the Kingdome was demolished in 2000 and replaced with Seahawks Stadium (later renamed Qwest Field), built on the same site. By this time, the other sports had long since relocated: the Sonics now use KeyArena exclusively, and the Mariners' new home is the modern, retractable-roofed Safeco Field, built with state money after the city voted down a bond issue to build it.

The city's first professional sports championship was brought to the city by way of the PCHA Seattle Metropolitans in 1917. The professional hockey team, which represented Seattle from 1915 to 1924, was in fact the first U.S. team to win the coveted Stanley Cup, beating the Montréal Canadiens. They returned to the Stanley Cup finals twice more. Their first return, again versus Montreal, was in 1919; that series was cancelled due to an outbreak of influenza with the two teams tied at 2–2–1. The Metropolitans last went to the Stanley Cup finals in 1920, when they lost to the Ottawa Senators.

The Seattle SuperSonics last won a modern-day championship, the NBA crown, in 1979, with Lenny Wilkens as coach. It is the only major sports championship Seattle has won.

In addition to professional sports, the University of Washington, Seattle University, and Seattle Pacific University field teams in a variety of sports, including football and basketball. Their teams are known as the Huskies, Redhawks, and Falcons, respectively. The Husky football team has a following that ranks with those of the major professional teams in the city. In 1991, the Huskies shared an NCAA Division I collegiate football championship with the Hurricanes of the University of Miami.

In 1990, Seattle hosted the 1990 Goodwill Games.

In 1998, the Seattle City Council failed to pass a resolution supporting a Seattle bid for the 2012 Olympics.

In 2004, the Seattle Storm won a WNBA championship. In 2005, the Seattle Sounders won the USL First Division championship.

The cities of Everett and Tacoma, to the north and the south of Seattle, respectively, have sports teams of their own. Most notable are the Tacoma Rainiers, a double-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners in the Pacific Coast League, and the Everett AquaSox, an A team playing short-season baseball in the Northwest League.

Infrastructure

Image:Downtown Seattle.jpg

Transportation

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As in almost every other city in western North America, transportation in Seattle is dominated by automobiles, although Seattle is just old enough that the city's layout reflects the age when railways and streetcars dominated. These older modes of transportation made for a relatively well-defined downtown and strong neighborhoods at the end of several former streetcar lines, most of them now bus lines. There is no subway, though a bus tunnel running roughly north-south through downtown will be used by light rail beginning in 2009. There are a small number of commuter trains from Tacoma and Everett and an extensive system of bus routes. About fifteen of King County Metro's bus routes serving downtown Seattle are electric and run on overhead wires. Like Vancouver, British Columbia and San Francisco, California, Seattle is one of the few cities in North America that use electric trolleybuses.

A monorail line constructed for the 1962 Exposition still exists today between Seattle Center and downtown and is still used by tourists and by commuters from the north, who often find it cheaper to park at Seattle Center and take the monorail downtown to work than to take their car downtown.

In the 1990s the city proposed to build a longer monorail to convert the monorail from a tourist attraction into a real commuter service. Controversy over scope, governance, financial difficulties, and so forth led to a series of five separate votes on the expanded monorail; although the voters initially approved the plan, anticipated cost overruns and other problems forced the city to return to the voters for approval no fewer than four times with updated plans. The project was definitively defeated by a November 2005 referendum.

The Sound Transit light rail project also faced difficulties early on, although the first 15.7 mile-section from downtown to Sea-Tac Airport will be operational in 2009. Additional expansion of light rail will include an extension north to the University District (already funded) and eventually to Northgate Mall. Also in the planning stages are lines across Lake Washington to Bellevue and south to Tacoma.

The South Lake Union line of the Seattle Streetcar passed full City Council on June 27, 2005. The streetcar is "on track" to be built and operating by 2007. The 2.6 mile (4.2 km) streetcar line will run between Westlake Center in downtown Seattle and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Property owners along the right-of-way will pay about $25 million of the $45 million total capital cost through a local improvement district.

Seattle is noted for its reliance on water traffic, with many people commuting to work from Bainbridge Island, Vashon Island, Bremerton, and Southworth via the Washington State Ferries system, which is the largest in the United States and the third largest in the world.

Seattle is served by Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The airport is a hub for Alaska Airlines and its regional subsidiary Horizon Air and has service to many destinations throughout North America, Europe, and East Asia. It is also a focus city for United Airlines. Seattle's general-aviation airport is Boeing Field. Southwest Airlines recently requested to be able move its services from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Boeing Field, but permission was not granted.

Street layout

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Seattle's streets are laid out in a cardinal-direction grid pattern, except in the central business district: early city leaders Arthur Denny and Carson Boren insisted on orienting their plats relative to the shoreline rather than to true North, so streets meet at unusual angles where Denny's plat meets "Doc" Maynard's to the south and Boren's to the north. This inconsistency creates frequent confusion for those unfamiliar to Seattle when they attempt to navigate the streets at the edges of the business district. Largely the result of Seattle's topography, only one street, one highway, and one freeway run uninterrupted entirely through the city.

See Seattle neighborhoods for articles on individual neighborhoods, including information on major thoroughfares.

Medical centers and hospitals

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Group Health Cooperative was one of the pioneers of managed care in the United States, the University of Washington is consistently ranked among the country's top ten leading institutions in medical research, and Seattle was a pioneer in the development of modern paramedic services with the establishment of Medic One in 1970. In 1974, a 60 Minutes story on the success of the then four-year-old Medic One paramedic system called Seattle "the best place in the world to have a heart attack".

Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center is the pediatric referral center for Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. Harborview Medical Center, the public county hospital, is the only Level I trauma hospital serving those same four states. It and the University of Washington Medical Center are both operated by the University of Washington.

Utilities

Image:Seattle Steam Company-1.jpg

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Unlike most neighboring cities, water and electricity are provided by public city agencies: Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light. Privately owned utility companies serving Seattle are Puget Sound Energy (natural gas), Seattle Steam Company (steam), Qwest (landline telephone service), and Comcast (and to a lesser extent Millennium Digital Media) (cable television).

Gallery

See also

Sources

  • Jones, Nard. Seattle, Doubleday and Co., New York City, 1972
  • Sale, Roger. Seattle: Past To Present. University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 1976.
  • Shear, Emmett. "Seattle: Booms and Busts". Author has granted blanket permission for material from that paper to be reused in Wikipedia.
  • Speidel, William C. Sons of the Profits. Nettle Creek Publishing Company, Seattle, 1967.
  • Speidel, William C. Doc Maynard, The Man Who Invented Seattle. Nettle Creek Publishing Company, Seattle, 1978
  • Sara Clemence, Most Overpriced Places In The U.S. 2005, Forbes magazine online, 14 July 2005. Retrieved 11 Nov 2005.

External links

 

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