Seattle, past to present

by Roger Sale

Hardcover, 1976




Seattle : University of Washington Press, c1976.


Seattle, Past to Present, interprets the history of the foremost city in the Northwest and traces the implications of that history for the city's present and future. In the process Seattle emerges not as a rough, half-formed frontier town but as a soft city of streets and houses, middle-class in aspiration and achievement; Roger Sale asks how it came to be that way.The methods Sale employs range from demographic analysis and residential survey to portraiture and personal observation and reflection. He highlights what was most important in each of the city's major periods from the founding, when the settlers, in waiting forty years for the railroads to come, meanwhile built a city to which the railroads had to come, down to the post-Boeing Seattle of the 1970's, when the city tried for the first time to discover a sense of itself based on the truths and lessons of its own past.Along the way one finds a good deal that has been obscured or ignored in other books on Seattle and in most books on the history of American cities: a discussion of the economic diversity of late-nineteenth-century Seattle which allowed it to grow; a description of the major achievements of the first boom years, in parks, boulevards, and neighborhoods of quiet eleganced; portraits of people like Vernon Parrington, Nellie Cornish, and Mark Tobey who came to Seattle and flourished here; an assessment of Seattle's new vitality as the result of natives and newcomers mixing both in harmony and in antagonism.… (more)




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