Coasting with Culture
Experiencing great theme parks and Beyond!

A Day in Pioneer Square, Seattle
January 26, 2017

With a day off from work here in the Pacific Northwest, I decided to go check out one of Seattle's historic districts, Pioneer Square.  The main reason for heading there was to check out the Klondike Gold Rush Historic National Park.

Our visit starts with a ride on the Link Light Rail to the Pioneer Square Station. Before leaving the station, you can find a link to Seattle's past with an old component of the cable car system that used to operate in Seattle.

   Back when Seattle was originally founded, Pioneer Square was the original downtown area, and the center of all business in the city. As the city grew, the main business district would relocate up north to the newer, more modern buildings.
  At the crossroads of Yesler and James, there is a unique looking parking garage that has a triangular shape which because of the surrounding roads. When the garage was built, it sparked anger in the city as it was at the expense of one of the old buildings that stood in the area. What soon followed were efforts to maintain many of the historic buildings that are found in Pioneer Square.

Thanks to the efforts of those to help preserve Pioneer Square, there are many beautiful buildings to see, some dating back to the 1890's.

  ​​One of the buildings that also remains is the Smith Tower. Seattle's oldest skyscraper. It's easily identified by it's unique pyamid top, which has an appartment inside of it. The building has an observation deck that is open to the public. While I didn't check it out this time, we'll have to come back and check out sometime in the near future. 

Another attraction that I would like to check out in the near future is Bill Spidel's Underground Tour. The tour takes you below the streets of Pioneer Square, which was the original level of the downtown area, but was raised to the current level because of the opportunity to do so when much of the city was destroyed from the Great Seattle Fire of 1889.

Right outside of the Pioneer Building is a fountain that pays tribute to Seattle's namesake, the Duwamish Tribe leader, Chief Sealth (a.k.a.
Chief Seattle). It appeared that the fountain was off because of it being winter.
Native American culture is very significant to Washington State. This is signified with the inclusion of totem poles and wood carvings that are found in the Pioneer Square area. 
There is also a park that is a popular gathering place in Pioneer Square. Today there were food trucks and live performances for visitors to enjoy. Summertime is probably an awesome time to come to the park.
The park is also home to Seattle's tribute for its firefighters who with fallen in the line of duty. The Seattle Fallen Fire Fighters' Memorial features statues of four fire fighters performing their duty, and several stones that are engraved with donors, as well as a list of the fighters
who had been lost while on duty.

Just down the street is the Waterfall Garden Park. This park sits on the site where the United Parcel Service (UPS) was created. The garden itself is quite beautiful, and would be a great place to relax while wondering around the South end of Seattle.

About a block south on 2nd Ave is the old Cadillac Hotel building, which is the main motivation for our visit today, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Near the entrance is a display that highlights the layout of Pioneer Square, showing where the original shoreline was before it was changed with the landfill of earth from the rebuilding after the Seattle Fire.

There is also an exhibit that discusses how the building was preserved after suffering significant damage from the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake. They also highlight how they made it more environmentally friendly with the installation of solar panels on the roof.
The main exhibit itself helps tell the tale of a small and young town on the shores of the Pudget Sound that experienced a huge boom because
of it being the gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush of Alaska. That small town was Seattle.

The top half of the exhibit highlights the preparation of those who came to Seattle looking to go to Alaska to seek their own fortune. They
share with you the items and supplies people would by, along with how they would make their way to the Klondike from Seattle.

As you head downstairs, you get into finding out what life was like for those in Alaska as they sought their fortune.

There's also some artifacts and replicas of tools used to find the gold. The wheel below on the right was a sort of "wheel of fortune" to
highlight just how little the odds were of finding some gold, let alone the minimal odds of finding enough to make instant wealth.

But there were some who were successful, and some how returned to Seattle started their own businesses with the income they made from selling their gold. Those businesses include Filson Outdoor Supplies, and the Nordstrom department stores.

Back upstairs, they had a scale where you could findout how much your weight in gold would be worth. While I'm not all that thrilled with my current weight, if I had that much gold, I would be a happy camper!

Because of being a part of the National Park system, there is also an exhibit that promotes the US National Parks, especially those found in Washington State.

To help encourage an interest in National Parks for the younger generation, kids can pretend to be the President of the United States as they sit at a pretend President's Desk, and they can fill out a paper where they can draw pictures and write about what their dream national park would be like.

The last thing I saw was the donors' wall, where those who have donated to the Klondike Gold Rush Historic Park are shown. While seeing Paul Allen's name isn't a surprise, one name I was really happy to see was Scenic Bound Tours of Seattle, as that is the parent company of Tours Northwest, the tour company I began working for back in this past September.

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And that concludes our exploration of Pioneer Square. I hope to come back before long to check out some of the other attractions in the area, and when I do, I'll make sure you can come along here on Coasting with Culture. Thank you for checking it out, I hope you enjoyed it!

 Take Care and Safe Travels!

  The Traveling Mr. Taylor