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Seattle Parks and Recreation

Tilikum Place

 
Address: 2701 5th Ave, 98121 (Map It)
Seattle Parks and Recreation Information:
(206) 684-4075 | Contact Us TTY Phone: (206) 233-1509

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PARK FEATURES
  • Decorative Fountain
  • Historic Landmark

HOURS

6 a.m. - 10 p.m.

ABOUT THE PARK

The main attraction of this small square in the northwest corner of the central business district is a life-size statue of Chief Seattle, for whom the city was named. Wrapped in a stained copper shawl, the chief stands on a pedestal with one arm raised in symbolic greeting to the first white settlers who landed at Alki Point in 1851. Bear heads at the base of the pedestal spout streams of water into a pool.

Tilikum Place itself (the name meaning "welcome" or "greetings" in Chinook jargon) is located at the juncture of the original land claims of Denny, Boren, and Bell. The statue, sculpted by James Wehn from the only existing photo of the chief, was unveiled on Founders' Day, November 13, 1912, by Chief Seattle's great-great-granddaughter.

Excerpt from Enjoying Seattle's Parks by Brandt Morgan.

Artist James Wehn also designed the seal for the City of Seattle, which includes a profile of Chief Seattle, and designed the concrete sculptures on the south-east portal of the I-90/Mount Baker Tunnel.

Acreage: 0.01

HISTORY

In 1907, the services of Seattle's pioneer sculptor, James A. Wehn, were secured. But then arguments developed over the subject matter to be used. After "The Chief" was decided upon, more arguments came about the ability of locate foundries to properly cast the sculpture.

After several mishaps and poor castings, Wehn threw "The Chief" into the Bay - it was sent to New York for casting by The Gorman Co. Therefore it was not until November 1912 that the unveiling took place by Miss Myrtle Loughery, the great-great-granddaughter of the Chief.

(Edited from the files of Don Sherwood, 1916-1981, Park Historian.)

To learn more about Seattle Parks and Recreation, including historic landmarks, military base reuse, and the Sherwood History Files, view our Park History.

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