Alki Point is the westernmost point in West 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.
Alki Point also marks the southern extent of Elliott Bay; a line drawn northwest to West Point marks the western extent of the bay.
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 Dr. 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 U.S. 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.
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