Pioneer Square Park

sights / Squares & plazas

Pioneer Square Park information

Seattle , USA
Address
Street cnr Cherry St & 1st Ave S
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Lonely Planet review

The original Pioneer Sq is a cobbled triangular plaza where Henry Yesler’s sawmill cut the giant trees that marked Seattle’s first industry. Known officially as Pioneer Square Park, the plaza features a bust of Chief Seattle (Sealth, in the original language), an ornate pergola and a totem pole .

Some wayward early Seattleites, so the story goes, stole the totem pole from the Tlingit native people in southeastern Alaska in 1890. An arsonist lit the pole aflame in 1938, burning it to the ground. When asked if they could carve a replacement pole, the Tlingit took the money offered, thanking the city for payment for the first totem, and said it would cost $5000 to carve another one. The city coughed up the money and the Tlingit obliged with the pole you see today.

The decorative pergola was built in the early 1900s to serve as an entryway to an underground lavatory and to shelter those waiting for the cable car that went up and down Yesler Way. The reportedly elaborate restroom eventually closed due to serious plumbing problems at high tide. In January 2001, the pergola was leveled by a wayward truck, but it was restored and put back where it belonged the following year, looking as good as new.