Sdzidzilalitch (Little Crossing-Over Place)

Foot of Yesler Way at Alaskan Way S

Waterfront at Yesler Way, Seattle, 2010, Photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Seattle Ferry Terminal, Seattle, May 27, 2020, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Canoes at boat landing, near Yesler Way, Seattle, ca. 1892, Courtesy MOHAI (shs5118)
Piner's Point during 1856 Battle of Seattle
Piner's Point, Charles Wilkes expedition survey, 1841, Courtesy U.S. Library of Congress (2010589747)

Foot of Yesler Way

Archaeological evidence shows that people have inhabited the Puget Sound region for at least 12,500 years. In the Seattle area, the ancestors of today’s Duwamish, Suquamish, and Muckleshoot tribal members established a winter village called Sdzidzilalitch (Little Crossing-Over Place) at what is now the foot of Yesler Way. Located on a neck of land, it was north of a tidal marsh and a low mound and provided access to flounder in the marsh, edible plants and animals in the surrounding forests and open spaces, and shellfish and fish in the tidal flats that extended south, where the two sports stadiums now stand. The village of eight or so longhouses, each approximately 60 feet by 120 feet and made of cedar logs and bark, was home to perhaps 200 people, who lived in extended families. When not here, they would have moved to seasonal fishing, hunting, and gathering grounds. Though the village’s longhouses had been abandoned by 1852, when Seattle’s founding settlers claimed the land, Native people have continued to live and work in the area and Sdzidzilalitch remains important to local tribes today.

Walk one block east on Yesler Way to the southwest corner of the Pioneer Building, 600 First Avenue.

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