Immigrants Change Seattle and Maine

Photo credit: Courtesy Wiki Commons

Photo credit: Courtesy Wiki Commons

I’ve spent two days traipsing the hills of downtown Seattle, checking out some of the buildings, roads and sidewalks my Danish pioneer father, Hans Pederson, built 100 years ago after he helped tear down the hills to allow expansion of the waterfront. Now they’re tearing up the waterfront because it’s time to replace the piers and the seawall.

We dodge huge pile drivers and step around the orange cones that mark the torn up sidewalks. We board the gangway for the Argosy waterfront cruise, and afterwards, walk a block to the amazing Seattle Aquarium filled with sea creatures beyond the imagination.

Local people generally support repairs, but municipal growth is controversial. Tsk tsk, the local media claim. Too many transplants and immigrants. They’re clogging up the hillsides. Ruining the views with their new housing. Lake Union is cluttered with houseboats trying to recreate the movie, Sleepless in Seattle.

Long-term settlers often feel this way. We’ve found this in our own local coastal Maine town. Old-timers complain about the immigrants. ‘They bring their rules, rules, rules about what everyone ought to do in town,” says a neighbor whose family settled here  200 years ago.. “These people move up here because they want to start over. Then they spend all their time trying to turn us into the place they left.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

8 responses

    • My father came to Seattle from Denmark in 1886. He died when I was one month old. My mother implied he left us penniless in the Depression. Instead, my research this century has told me that he was one of West Coast Seattle’s major pioneer builders. I’ve written a book about him, but I live on the US East Coast and am beginning to blog etc. now as I prepare to publish the book.

      I’ll try to find your post. What fine work you do.

      • Thank you Paula! I hope you can find the post under the ” travel” icon. My fathers uncle was engaged in a church in Seattle and worked as a dairist. So good that you found another truth about your father. My husband is doing a lot of research on ancesters. If you need help about something from Denmark he could help.

      • Paula Pederson is my pen name since I’m calling my book, “The Search for Hans Pederson, The immigrant Who Built Seattle,” by Paula Pederson, his daughter. Mostly my materiel is from old Seattle news articles. Also a Danish biography of him. He was born ‘PedersEn, Danish spelling, but changed his name to PedersOn when a stationery order was delivered to him in Seattle with the wrong spelling since by then everyone knew him as “Hans,” and another Seattle contractor was named Hans Pedersen.

  1. Pingback: Ellis Island & chasing ancestors | Maria Holm

  2. Pingback: The Builder of the West | Maria Holm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: