The publication Georgetown 101 was created to commemorate the dedication of Oxbow Park on August 13, 2005. It is one of a series of projects celebrating the unique history of Georgetown. The event adds another chapter to the continuing story of growth of this neighborhood's character and its contribution to the diversity of Seattle's heritage.
The title of the publication, Georgetown 101, is appropriate. It was 101 years ago that citizens of this area voted for Georgetown to become a city separate from Seattle. Although the incorporation lasted only six years, that independent spirit was ingrained into hope and dreams of the residents of this vibrant community.
Duwamish Tribe: "First Peoples" of the Area
For thousands of years, the lands bordering the Duwamish, White, and Black Rivers was home to the Duwamish Tribe, this area's "First People". The Duwamish were one of hundreds of different Native American tribes living in the Puget Sound region. Due to the fact they lived along the river systems, not the outer coastline, they were known as "people of the inside" or "duampsh".
They lived in large cedar long houses along the shores of the river and its tributaries. These locations were perfect for fishing and hunting and for gathering the many berries, grasses, and edible plants that were needed for their daily lives. Long houses typically consisted of one large room divided into separate rooms by hand-woven cedar mats hung from the ceiling. Several families lived in each long-house and shared a common cooking spaces.
How Georgetown Got Its Name
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 ran from 12 1/2 ¢ for a "footman" (someone walking) to 50¢ for a man with a horse. After Collins drowned in 182, ferry access was moved several hundred yards downstream and renamed "Martin's Ferry".
Duwamish Valley's First Settler: John Holgate
By the late 1840's, many pioneers who had come West along the Oregon Trail to establish new homes and businesses found that most of the best opportunities were already being developed in t he Oregon Territory. Some continued south to California and others pushed north in search of unclaimed land.
It was not long until the Duwamish Valley was discovered by the pioneers who were coming north to explore the Puget Sound region. The Duwamish River provided fresh water and the fertile soil that surrounded the river's bends was perfect for farming. A combination of ancient beaver dams and periodic flooding had created meadows instead of dense forests, which meant it would take less time to clear the land to prepare it for planting. This type of land was just was the area's first settlers were looking for to set up their farming homesteads.
First on the scene was eighteen-year-old John Holgate. In 1847, Holgate left his family in Iowa and traveled on the Oregon Trail with a Quaker wagon train. Before leaving Iowa, he wrapped the roots of a small fir tree in a burlap bag and brought it along to plant at his new home.
Legacy of Luther and Diana Collins
Luther Collins and his family were some of the early pioneers who headed West. They first settled in the Nisqually Valley near Olympia, but Luther was restless. He wanted to see if he could strike it rich in the Gold Rush in California, so he he left his wife Diana and his children to take car of their livestock and nursery of fruit trees.
In California, he met Samuel and Jacob Mapel and well as Henry Van Asselt - persuading them to return to the Pacific Northwest with him. After exploring the area, the filed land claims near the mouth of the Duwamish River - June 12,1851. Before he left to retrieve his family, Collins planted potato seeds and a few fruit tree seedlings.
At some point the settlement became known as "Dwamish" which was the name of the Post Office established there in 1874. When brothers Julius and Dexter Horton arrived in 1871, they 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 they 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.
Julius, realizing the potential for future development, began selling parcels from is land. On one parcel, he and his wife, Annie, built an mansion. In 1890, they named this development "Georgetown" in honor of their son George, who had just graduated from Bellevue Hospital and Medical School in New York City.
Funding for projects such as this have been made possible through support from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Small and Simple Grant Program.