The Denny Party landed at Alki Beach on November 13, 1851, and moved to dzidzəlalič (today known as Pioneer Square) in the spring of 1852. The name “Seattle,” according to local historian Rob Ketcherside, first appeared in print that October. But it wasn’t until May 23, 1853, that David Swinson Maynard, Carson Dobbins Boren, and Arthur Armstrong Denny filed the first plats of the Town of Seattle — thereby creating its first official streets.
Mill Street, which divided the two plats, was renamed Yesler Avenue in 1888, and Yesler Way — its current name — seven years later. Front Street became 1st Avenue and Commercial Street became 1st Avenue S as part of that same “Great Renaming” ordinance of 1895. Streets that were named in these first plats that have kept their names till today include:
Boren and Denny
- James Street — after James Marion Denny, younger brother of A.A. Denny
- Cherry Street — after Cherry Grove, Illinois, where the Denny Party’s journey to Seattle began
- Columbia Street
- Marion Street — also after James Marion Denny
- Madison Street — after President James Madison
- Spring Street — after the springs along Elliott Bay
Mill Street is now Yesler Way, and Front Street is now 1st Avenue.
- Washington Street — after President George Washington
- Main Street
- Jackson Street — after President Andrew Jackson
- King Street — after Vice President William Rufus DeVane King
- Weller Street — after John B. Weller, senator from California, later governor of California
- Lane Street — after Joseph Lane, governor of Oregon Territory, later Southern Democratic candidate for vice president in the 1860 election
Commercial Street is now 1st Avenue S.
Born and raised in Seattle, Benjamin Donguk Lukoff had his interest in local history kindled at the age of six, when his father bought him settler granddaughter Sophie Frye Bass’s Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle at the gift shop of the Museum of History and Industry. He studied English, Russian, and linguistics at the University of Washington, and went on to earn his master’s in English linguistics from University College London. His book of rephotography, Seattle Then and Now, was published in 2010. An updated version came out in 2015.