Georgetown, a former town annexed to the City of Seattle in 1910, has been nicknamed "A Community of Firsts" because it was home to a number of key events and developments which were important to the growth and history of King County.
Luther and Diana Collins and their children Lucinda and Stephen, along with Jacob Mapel, Samuel Mapel and Henry Van Asselt, filed land claims totaling over 1,100 acres near the mouth of the Duwamish River in June 1851. They moved onto the property in September 1851, two months before the arrival of the Denny party at Alki on November 13th. The farming settlement established by Collins, Van Asselt and the Mapels was originally known as "Collins".
Luther Collins, who was named the County Commissioner and appointed himself road supervisor for all of King County, routed the main road from Seattle to Tacoma to go right by his house. The road led to a ferry, called the Collins Ferry, which took passengers across the Duwamish River. Fares ranged from 12 1/2 for a "footman" (someone walking) to 50¢ for a man with a horse. At some point the settlement became known as "Dwamish" which was the name of the Post Office established there in 1874 (and also name of the native peoples who lived here).
The Horton brothers Julius and Dexter, arrived in 1871, and purchased 160 acres of Collins' original claim. The brothers were very different in personality but both were very ambitious. While Dexter was against the drinking of alcohol, his brother Julius saw the possibilities of making money through the brewing business and land development. On his land, Julius grew hops, which was the necessary ingredient in making beer. In 1882, he sold 1 1/4 to Edward Sweeney and William Rule to build what would became known as the Rainier Brewery
The main road from Seattle to Tacoma crossed the Duwamish River beside Luther Collins' farm house. He established a ferry system to allow people to cross the river safely with their belongings, livestock and suppliesFirst Fort
in 1855, problems arose between the Native Americans and the settlers, and the settlers feared for their safety. Luther Collins donated one acre of land to build a blockhouse so that the settler could have protection in case of an attack. The blockhouse was called Fort Duwamish and was located just west of the present Georgetown Steam plant Museum.First Agriculture Crop
On his exploration trip to the Duwamish Valley in June 1851, Luther Collins realized he had found a perfect place to farm. Before he left his land claim to pick up his family and their belongings, he planted some potato seeds as well as young fruit trees. By November, Collins' potato crop was ready to harvest for the winter. The Collins shared their potato crop with the sick and hungry Denny Party when they arrived at Alki Beach. The next year Collins harvested over 300 bushels of peaches and had a nursery of over 1,000 thriving fruit trees.First Oval Horse Race Track
The "Seattle Course" was build in 1869 on 45 acres of land leased from on of the original settlers, Diana Collins. The seven-furlong dirt track was built by saloon-owner John Pinnell. For the first several years the race tack's operation, his horse "Tom Merry" was the favorite to win.First Airplane Flight
in 1910, famous aeronaut Charles Hamilton delighted hundreds of thrill-seekers at the Meadows Race Track with four exhibition flights in his Curtiss bi-plane. On his fourth flight, the wheel of his plane struck the surface of the pond in the middle of the track and flipped the plane over. Hamilton was unhurt, but his plane needed repairs. He returned the next day for more flights.First Motorcycle Race
On August 12, 1904, the Meadows Race Track hosted the first motorcycle race in King County, featuring three Indian motorcycles and one home-made contraption. There were few entries to the race because the track had very sharp curves since it was mainly built for horse racing.First Twins
When his wife Elizabeth was about to give birth, John Wesley Maple had a dream there would be twins. Sure enough, twin daughters - Dora and Cora - were born weighing only a little over two pounds each. The local Native American people came to see the babies and have the parents fish oil to rub on their tiny bodies for nourishment.