< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >
Voters elect Henry Yesler as mayor of the City of Seattle on July 13, 1874.
HistoryLink.org Essay 2891
: Printer-Friendly Format
On July 13, 1874, voters elect Republican Henry Yesler (1810-1892) as mayor of the City of Seattle.
Yesler, one of the most prominent citizens in early Seattle, arrived in what was then called Duwamps in October 1852. A millwright, he played a key role in the settlement's economic survival by building a steam-powered lumber mill on Elliott Bay. Yesler's mill was the young town's main industry (and for a while, its only industry), supplying lumber for local construction in addition to serving markets up and down the West Coast.
A small cookhouse built for the benefit of Yesler's millworkers served as Seattle's community center for a number of years. In 1865, Yesler convinced the Masonic Lodge to contribute to the construction of a new town hall on his property. Yesler's Hall, a 30 x 100 foot building located at present-day 1st Avenue and Cherry Street, was used for local orations and dances and for travelling road shows, including minstrels, concerts, and theatricals.
Yesler was involved in many of the town's other civic improvements, including its first water system -- a series of V-shaped log flumes that carried water from springs on 3rd Avenue to his sawmill. He later extended the flumes to the end of his and neighboring docks, to supply fresh water to ships.
While successful in many of his early enterprises, Yesler made his fortune in real estate. He and his wife, Sarah, eventually built an opulent mansion. They donated space in the mansion for use as Seattle's first public library.
Yesler was appointed as King County's first auditor, beginning in 1853. He later served two one-year terms as mayor of Seattle, in 1874 and again in 1885. Under the city charter in effect at that time, mayors and councilmen served one-year terms, and elections were held on the second Monday in July.
Seattle City Clerk, "Mayors of the City of Seattle," (www.ci.seattle.wa.us/seattle/leg/clerk/mayors.htm); Clarence B. Bagley, History of Seattle From the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1916).
Note: This file was greatly expanded on August 31, 2004.
Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay
Browse to Next Essay >
Government & Politics |
Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that
encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both
HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any
reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this
Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For
more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact
the source noted in the image credit.
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided
By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins
| Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry
| 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle
| City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach
Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private
Sponsors and Visitors Like You