Denny, Boren, and Bell select claims on Elliott Bay marking the beginning of Seattle on February 15, 1852.

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 3/08/2003
  • Essay 5393
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On February 15, 1852, Arthur Denny (1822-1899), Carson Boren (1824-1912), and William Bell (1817-1887) select Donation Land claim sites on the eastern portion of Elliott Bay. Most of the original settlers relocate from the settlement of "New York" on Alki Beach in April, and name their new community Duwamps (or Dewamps). This event marks the beginning of the development of Seattle.

Denny had borrowed his wife's clothesline and tied a weight to it to take soundings of Elliott Bay. The settlers decided to take the area that became downtown Seattle, which included the most level portion of the south bay. They began relocating their families in April 1852, leaving Charles and Lee Terry to tend their "New York Store" on Alki Point.


Clarence Bagley, History of Seattle (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916); History of King County, Washington (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1929); Murray Morgan, Skid Road, An Informal Portrait of Seattle (New York: Viking Press, 1951).

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