Settlers, wealthy and ready to invest, arrive in Seattle aboard a Great Northern train on February 23, 1900.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 10/08/1999
  • Essay 1725

On February 23, 1900, 70 persons arrive in Seattle aboard the Great Northern Railway from the Midwest and all but three bring at least $1,000 to invest in fruit and fish canning, merchandising, or farming. They are dubbed the "largest and wealthiest party of homeseekers" to arrive in six years.

R. E. Wirkman, Western Immigration Agent for the railroad stated, "We are receiving at the present time from 60 to 80 inquiries a day regarding Washington at our St. Paul office. They are from people who want to engage in business and have sums of money from $500 to $5000 to invest." As an inducement to migrate westward, the Great Northern offered a flat fare of $25 per person for new settlers.

The Seattle International Railway reported that 500 immigrants from Kansas were due to leave for Seattle on March 1, 1900, and further that 400 heads of families from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, North Dakota, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma had written for information on moving West. Settlers frequently cited the desire for milder winters as their reason for moving.


Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 18, 1900, p. 9; Ibid., February 24, 1900, p. 6.

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