SEATTLE — "We're a city of newcomers," said Leonard Garfield, Executive Director of MOHAI, the Museum of History and Industry. "Always have been and always will be."
We asked Garfield to sum up the five things that newcomers need to know about our city's past.
1) Seattle has always been a place of innovation.
"What we do is we take good ideas and turn them into great ideas," Garfield said. "So, Starbucks took the common cup of coffee and turned it into an essential luxury. Boeing took boats and turned them into machines that flew. And Amazon, of course, has invented how to do everything differently and better."
2) Native culture is built right into our name.
"Seattle is the only city in the United States named after a living native person," Garfield said. "Chief Seattle was actually alive when the city fathers decided to name the city in his honor."
3) Seattle has always been in a state of transformation.
"We celebrate our physical setting. We love our natural surroundings. But we have reshaped this city. We've cut down hill after hill, we've filled in our tide flats, and we've even dug a ship canal between the fresh water of Lake Washington and the saltwater of Elliot Bay."
4) We're more worldly than you thought.
"Seattle has sometimes been viewed as provincial," Garfield said, "But we open our arms to people from around the world. In fact, we invited the world in to a World's Fair in 1962. We know that because of the Space Needle. But did you know that we had a first world's fair in 1909, and that led to what is today the University of Washington campus?"
5) We're youthful and always have been.
Garfield said, "Seattle is a city of young people. In fact, the first American settlers (of Seattle) were teenagers. Bill Boeing was in his 20's, so was Bill Gates, when they created companies that changed the world."