Alki Point (pronounced /ˈælkaɪ/), is the westernmost point in the West Seattle district of Seattle, Washington; Alki is the peninsular neighborhood surrounding it. Jutting out into Puget Sound, Alki was the original white settlement in what was to become the city of Seattle. Part of the city of West Seattle from 1902 to 1907, Alki was annexed to Seattle along with the rest of West Seattle in 1907.
The Duwamish called it "Prairie Point" (Lushootseed: sbaqWábaqs). The name refers to prairies near the point that were maintained through seasonal burning by indigenous cultivators. It was a place of native occupation as well as colonial reconnaissance well before 1851.
The Denny Party landed at Alki Point November 13, 1851, and platted a settlement of six blocks of eight lots. The original name of the settlement was "New York Alki," "Alki" being a word in Chinook Jargon (Wawa) meaning "eventually" or "by and by." However, the next April, Arthur A. Denny abandoned the site at Alki for a better-situated site on the east shore of Elliott Bay, just north of the plat of David Swinson "Doc" Maynard. This site is now known as Pioneer Square.
Charles Terry, who owned the land, and some others held on at Alki for a while, but most eventually joined the others in Pioneer Square. Terry gave his claim to Maynard in 1857 in exchange for his Pioneer Square holdings; Maynard farmed the land for 11 years and sold it to Hans Martin Hanson and Knud Olson in 1868, Hanson taking possession of the point itself. The Alki Point Lighthouse dates from 1913, replacing the United States Lighthouse Service's post light from 1887 and Hanson's lantern-on-a-post from the mid 1870s.
The oldest remaining building in Alki is the 1904 Bernard family home, later a hotel, and now the Alki Homestead restaurant.
Well into the 20th century, Alki was reachable from most of Seattle only by boat. Alki today is reminiscent of a California beach town, with a mix of mid-century bungalows, medium-rise waterfront apartment houses, waterfront businesses, a thin beach, and a road with a bike/foot trail running several miles along the water. This section of West Seattle is bounded on the northwest by Elliott Bay; on the southwest by Puget Sound; and on the east by the West Seattle hill. Its main thoroughfares are Alki Avenue S.W. (northeast- and southwest-bound); Beach Drive S.W. (northwest- and southeast-bound); and S.W. Admiral Way (east- and westbound).
There have been summer concerts at Alki Beach since the early 1900s—the original streetcars to West Seattle were established in order to bring people to these events. Today, the beach plays host to the Seattle Music Fest every August. It is a three-day music festival that plays host to emerging Northwest artists and selected national and international headliners.
Denny Mounument is located at Alki Point. It has the names of the first Seattle colony listed on it. The third side of the monument gives the names of the adults composing the first Seattle Colony. Arthur A. Denny and his Wife. John N. Low and Wife. Carson D. Boren and Wife. David D. Denny. Charles C. Terry, and on the base New York Alki (By and By) the name first given the settlement. The forth side erected by the Washington University State Historical Society 13 November 1905 and on the base presented by Lenora Denny.
Tourism at Alki Point
Alki Beach is the only stretch of waterfront within the greater Seattle area that functions as a public sand beach. It fulfills the classic requirements of what a beach represents including: sand, smell of saltwater, bungalows, and the local deep fried cooking. It also provides stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and downtown Seattle from all vantages in the ultimate sense of the picturesque. Alki Beach is a place to people watch or get a tan in the summer months. This beach provides an environment for people to gather and casually hang out. With access to wheelchairs and roller-skates alike, two miles of beach create the perfect scene for an afternoon stroll .
In the summer months, Alki Beach becomes hectically busy at times; especially on weekends. Sunbathers, volleyball nets, and barbeques fill the beach while teens cruise the street in their eye catching cars. The tourist attractions include seeing the miniature of the Statue of Liberty and the iconic Alki Point Lighthouse. The main commercial strip, California Ave SW, provides old five and dime shops and diners that call to a different time.
Alki Point Lighthouse is a historic landmark built in 1913 that still functions today. Though the property is not open to the public, the tower is available for touring on summer weekend afternoons where the lens can be viewed. Despite its normal inaccessibility, it provides the tourist with the feeling of an authentic beach town and contributes to the overall picturesque.
The miniature Statue of Liberty at Alki Point is a replica of the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. It was donated by Reginald H. Parsons and Seattle Council of The Boy Scouts of America in 1952. This symbol stands for liberty and many tourists mourned the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers at the site. This statue may also represent Alki Point which was originally called New York-Alki by Low and Terry who claimed the settlement and named it after New York, their state of origin.
Alki Beach has been a venue for summer concerts every August since the early 1900’s . The music scene is for the tourist and the local alike. Local music headlines and creates an authentic feeling. Live music can also be found at Kenyon Hall which features the Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ. The Historic Admiral Theater also presents live performances on occasion. Tourists may want to view the music allongside the locals to understand the current trends and political opinions.
Bungalows and Historic Buildings
Bungalows are nestled between large hotels and condominiums along California SW. They are covered with greenery that blossoms intermittently. These historic homes such as the Hanson-Olsen Home originally built in 1860s provide a glimpse of the arts and crafts movement of the past. Many of these bungalows are increasingly forced to be renovated or physically moved to another destination or risk demolition . Tourists adore the bungalows at Alki Point: They provide the idealistic vision of the American home while providing a view of a different time and style.
Tourism from the Water
Kayaking is another way for the tourist to explore [Alki Point]. Kayaking tours take place during the weekends and provide the tourist with information of the natural landscape, waterfront attractions, and architectural landmarks.
Parks to Tour
Historical Tourism at Alki Point
Due to the popularity of Alki Beach in 1902, the electric street railway line was extended from downtown Seattle to this destination . In 1907, at Duwamish Head, Charles I.D. Looff built an amusement park atop pilings called Luna Park, Seattle. This park, named after Coney Island in New York, included a German carousel, Ferris wheel, rollercoaster, and a boat chute ride. It also included Powers Natatorium and Bathhouse, which included heated saltwater pools. In 1954 the park burned . The pilings can still be seen today at low tide off of the point.