For a late-winter afternoon in West Seattle, Alki Beach offers a quiet and breezy respite from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area which as the cityscape (and the presence of the Space Needle) shows is only a few miles away. The differences come as no surprise: the pace is slower, the sensibility is uncomplicated, outlook and livelihood directed by the adjacent waters of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound).
Perhaps it’s the latter what the indigenous Duwamish and Coast Salish people were pondering when a group of white settlers in the Denny party came ashore in November 1851. With his own group, Chief Seathl (siʔaɫ, Si’ahl, Sealth) of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes arrived to meet the strangers from the sea. Today, a monument and various plaques around Alki Beach Park highlight how the Denny party attempted to start their new life in what is now West Seattle, before they pulled up stakes and moved the following April onto the high ground next to the muddy flats of what is now the Pioneer Square District.
In its place, the city might have once been called “New York Alki” by early white settlers, but eventually, the growing city would take the name of the indigenous chief. The intervening decades would see competing views of “place-stories” to fit future dreams and mourn the apparent loss of the “pristine past” without any acknowledgment of responsibility; both could and would be used to sell the image of the city.
I acknowledge my visit to the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish (Dxʷdəwʔabš) People past and present, and honour with gratitude the land itself and the Duwamish Tribe (src). I made the photo above on 6 March 2020 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/60-sec, f/11, ISO 800, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-h9L.
In thinking about things to do for free in Seattle, I thought about some of the city’s sights labelled with the letter ‘S’. There’s plenty of alliteration to follow.
I could have listed two obvious choices with the Space Needle and the Smith Tower. They are free to admire from the ground, but both require an admission charge to enter and reach the top of each respective structure for sweeping views of the city.
Here below are other arts and culture spots in Seattle that don’t cost a penny to visit or see; all locations are easily accessible with public transport.