Document 7: Industries and Products of King County

Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Statistical and Descriptive Report of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce to the Governor of Washington Territory (Seattle: Hanford, 1884), 5-6. Pacific Northwest Collections, University of Washington Libraries.

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CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, SEATTLE, W.T., OCT. 18 1884, Hon. Watson C. Squire, Governor of Washington Territory:

DEAR SIR:--In compliance with the request contained in your letter of the 3d. inst., and by the direction of the Chamber, I have the honor to submit the following statement of the resources, industries and products of this (King) County:

King County has an area of 2040 square miles, being larger than the State of Delaware and nearly twice as large as the State of Rhode Island, and possessing within its borders developed and undeveloped resources as great in variety and value as either of the New England or several of the other smaller States. The more important of these resources are timber, coal, iron, marble and gypsum. There is also a wide extent of agricultural land of almost unexampled fertility.

While the resources of the country have been developed to a greater extent that those of any other county in the Territory, and while more industries have been established, yet they are in the infancy of their development and growth. The beds of iron and marble are inexhaustible and of unexcelled richness and purity; but through lack of transportation facilities neither of these valuable resources has ever received any development whatever, although they are situated within sixty miles of Puget Sound, the finest land-locked tide-waters on the globe.

The principal resources so far developed, and those only imperfectly, are timber and coal, and, to a limited extent, agriculture.

The population of the county is now upward of 16,000, being by far the most populous as well a the wealthiest county in the Territory. Of this population the city of Seattle, as shown by the registry list at the late municipal election, is entitled to claim about 12,000; being nearly twice a large as any other city in the Territory, and, in point of business and capital, outranking any other in even greater proportion. In wealth, population, commerce, enterprise and energy it is pre-eminently the chief city of the Territory, and in commerce and enterprise is entitled to rank with many Eastern cities of double its population.

Of the 2040 square miles of the county, 700 square miles are mountainous, but contain valuable mineral deposits. There are 350,000 acres of good agricultural land, of which 190,000 acres are in the river bottoms, the balance being scattered through the upland.

There are some 1200 square miles of timber, of which about 80,000 are hardwood (maple, alder, and ash), about 6000 acres of white pine, about 64,000 acres of cedar, about 640,000 acres of fire, and perhaps 10,000 acres of spruce.

Of coal there is known some 40 to 50 square miles, 15,500 acres of which are more or less developed.

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