West Seattle business district site claimed for settlement on July 14, 1865.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 3/15/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 3106
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On July 14, 1865, George Plummer makes a homestead claim on 160 acres of land that would become a business district in West Seattle located at California Avenue SW and SW Admiral Way. In 1869, he receives a patent from the federal government giving him ownership to the land. Because he was not allowed to homestead more than 160 acres, in 1865 he purchases for $1.25 per acre an additional 40 acres adjoining his homestead.

His homestead included the land bounded from SW Lander Street to SW Holgate Street and from 47th Avenue SW to 39th Avenue SW. His additional 40 acres was bounded from SW Holgate Street to SW Atlantic Street and from 47th Avenue SW to California Avenue SW.

Settlers arriving after 1855 could only homestead on land that was surveyed by the United States. On September 4, 1862, the U.S. General Land Office contracted with Lyman Andrews to survey a township -- a 36-square-mile area of land. Andrews and a crew of two chain carriers, a compassman, and an axeman took two weeks to survey the land into one-mile grids. They finished on October 3, 1862.

On September 27, 1862, the crew surveyed along what would become SW Hanford Street. Proceeding east from 52nd Avenue SW, they hacked through an "almost impenetrable Fir and Cedar thicket" for a half-mile, leaving it at the future California Avenue SW. They encountered [Doug] fir trees as thick as five feet in diameter.


"The Washington Tract Books," Vols. 126 and 127, Record Group 49, Pacific Northwest Region National Archives, Seattle, Washington; U. S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, "Cadastral survey field notes and plats for Oregon and Washington," Township 24 North, Range 3 East," University of Washington Microfiche M-3066, Newspapers and Microform, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, Washington.

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