Pioneer Square Park Totem Pole
Seattle Attractions--Architecture-Pioneer Square
100 Yesler Way
One of my favorite Seattle parks is the postage stamp-sized Pioneer Square Park. This is the home of the Pioneer Square Pergola and the lovely Tlingit totem pole. The history of the totem pole is that it was originally carved by the Tlingit Indians. A group of early Seattle settlers stole the 60 foot totem from Fort Tongass, Alaska and erected it in 1899 in Pioneer Square. The totem was damaged by an arsonist in 1938 and the city of Seattle commissioned the Tlingit Tribe to carve a replacement pole which was erected in 1940. The new pole was carved by the descendants of the original totem’s carvers and it was dedicated by the Tribe members with a potlatch celebration. The totem pole is a registered National Historic Landmark.
This pole is quite striking. The animals on the pole represent legends about a raven, a mink, a frog, a killer whale, and the King of all Birds (the bottom figure). This pole is quite photogenic and it can be shot from all directions to emphasize the shapes and the colors used to decorate the pole. It is fun to frame images of beautiful Pioneer Square with the outline of the totem. Take the time to really study the totem pole and admire the artistic ability of the carvers.