The original Pioneer Square 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 (Seattle being an Anglicized version of the Duwamish name Si'ahl or Sealth), an ornate pergola and a Tlingit totem pole,the first to be erected in Seattle as the Salish people native to the region did not build them.
Some wayward early Seattleites, so the story goes, stole the totem pole from the Tlingit native people in southeastern Alaska in 1890. The tribe successfully sued and received $500 in damages for the stolen art (although they originally demanded $20,000). An arsonist lit the pole aflame in 1938, burning it to the ground, leading the city to request the Tlingit to carve a new one, which you see today.