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Old 10-13-2017, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Seattle WA, USA
3,929 posts, read 2,214,400 times
Reputation: 2610

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bartonizer View Post
Interesting numbers, but they don't tell the whole story. Again the first wave of crucial years as it pertains to this discussion was 1880-1890. Prior to that, Portland was the largest city in the region. Seattle blew up in size by 1890, but Victoria was larger than Vancouver, which barely existed ten years prior. Bellingham at the time was actually four separate small cities (New Whatcom, Fairhaven, Sehome, and Bellingham) that consolidated in 1903, so it's total population was nearly the same population as both Canadian cities around that time.

Port Townsend was built mostly on speculation of the Northern Pacific line being completed. When it didn't happen, the community floundered. Bellingham, Victoria, and Vancouver had already seen boom and bust cycles with the Fraser River gold rush, and were in the running for future transcontinental railroads. When the CP stopped in Vancouver, it sealed Victoria's fate as a smaller place (though it remained capital of the province) and when the decision was made to not make Bellingham a substantial terminus, it relegated the city to a more linear growth pattern.

Again, my whole point was that during the time period that I'm referring to- mid-1880's to early 1890's- the other cities I mentioned- especially Port Townsend and Bellingham- could have been much bigger, if it were not for decisions made elsewhere, and in the case of Bellingham, a water fight between drunk Americans and Canadians.
Yes I'm aware of Portland and I don't disagree with you on that point, Portland had a real shot at being the premier city of the pnw. But I just don't think Port Townsend or Bellingham had a huge shot, even if the railroads came, though they certainly would've been bigger maybe something like Victoria is today, but I think for the Puget sound it was clearly Seattle and Tacoma had a slight chance but lost it.

The reason why I started the stats with 1890 is because not all the cities have census data going further back but here they are

Portland, OR
1860: 2,874
1870: 8,293
1880: 17,577

Victoria, BC
1861: ---
1871: 3,270
1881: 5,925

Walla Walla, WA
1860: ---
1870: 1,394
1880: 3,588

Seattle, WA
1860: 188
1870: 1,107
1880: 3,533

Astoria, OR
1860: 252
1870: 639
1880: 2,803

Eureka, CA
1860: ---
1870: ---
1880: 2,639

Salem, OR
1860: 902
1870: 2,139
1880: 2,538

The Dalles, OR
1860: 802
1870: 942
1880: 2,232

Albany, OR
1860: ---
1870: 1,292
1880: 1,867

Vancouver, WA
1860: ---
1870: ---
1880: 1,722

Oregon City, OR
1860: 1,229
1870: 1,382
1880: 1,262

Olympia, WA
1860: ---
1870: 1,203
1880: 1,232

Eugene, OR
1860: 1,183
1870: 861
1880: 1,117

Tacoma, WA
1860: ---
1870: 73
1880: 1,098

Port Townsend, WA
1860: ---
1870: ---
1880: 917

Coos Bay, OR
1860: ---
1870: 250
1880: 642

Spokane, WA
1860: ---
1870: ---
1880: 350

These were just some of the major settlements in the PNW between 1860 an 1880

What happened to Eugene? why did it loose population in the 1860s?
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:08 PM
 
Location: Seattle WA, USA
3,929 posts, read 2,214,400 times
Reputation: 2610
One thing I'm surprised with is Virginia, why doesn't Virginia have any major cities that date back from the colonial era? Why was Jamestown abandoned?
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Old 10-14-2017, 01:32 AM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
1,088 posts, read 1,070,249 times
Reputation: 1936
Quote:
Originally Posted by grega94 View Post
Yes I'm aware of Portland and I don't disagree with you on that point, Portland had a real shot at being the premier city of the pnw. But I just don't think Port Townsend or Bellingham had a huge shot, even if the railroads came, though they certainly would've been bigger maybe something like Victoria is today, but I think for the Puget sound it was clearly Seattle and Tacoma had a slight chance but lost it.

The reason why I started the stats with 1890 is because not all the cities have census data going further back but here they are

Portland, OR
1860: 2,874
1870: 8,293
1880: 17,577

Victoria, BC
1861: ---
1871: 3,270
1881: 5,925

Walla Walla, WA
1860: ---
1870: 1,394
1880: 3,588

Seattle, WA
1860: 188
1870: 1,107
1880: 3,533

Astoria, OR
1860: 252
1870: 639
1880: 2,803

Eureka, CA
1860: ---
1870: ---
1880: 2,639

Salem, OR
1860: 902
1870: 2,139
1880: 2,538

The Dalles, OR
1860: 802
1870: 942
1880: 2,232

Albany, OR
1860: ---
1870: 1,292
1880: 1,867

Vancouver, WA
1860: ---
1870: ---
1880: 1,722

Oregon City, OR
1860: 1,229
1870: 1,382
1880: 1,262

Olympia, WA
1860: ---
1870: 1,203
1880: 1,232

Eugene, OR
1860: 1,183
1870: 861
1880: 1,117

Tacoma, WA
1860: ---
1870: 73
1880: 1,098

Port Townsend, WA
1860: ---
1870: ---
1880: 917

Coos Bay, OR
1860: ---
1870: 250
1880: 642

Spokane, WA
1860: ---
1870: ---
1880: 350

These were just some of the major settlements in the PNW between 1860 an 1880

What happened to Eugene? why did it loose population in the 1860s?
I'm not really sure what your basis is for not thinking that Bellingham or Port Townsend had a shot to be much bigger deals at one time. I'm relating what plenty of historians and historical markers mention around both cities. Have you visited both places? I agree that Seattle had likely cemented itself as a more substantial city by the 1890 or so, but there's little doubt that things could have been far different for Bellingham if either a) the Northern Pacific chose it as the western terminus instead of Tacoma in 1873, b) the Great Northern had selected it instead of Seattle in the 1880's, c) if the Canadian Pacific had continued to promote it as a terminus and passenger destination after 1891, or d) if the considerable efforts to directly link the town to Spokane via Cascade Pass/Hannegan Pass/North Cascades had been successful in the 1890's and early 1900's.

I also don't disagree that many of the other cities you listed could have been much bigger deals if things had gone a different direction. Many of them had boom and bust periods that could have cemented them as major cities. Again, that was one of the points I made in my original post on this thread. For example, Bellingham's population (before incorporation) was actually estimated to be over 10,000 in the late 1850's when the Fraser Gold Rush took place, making it temporarily much larger than the other cities in the region, some of which didn't even exist yet. Then, similar to Seattle, it developed into a large supplier of timber and coal to points south on the Pacific Coast with significant investors and speculators both locally and in California referred to Bellingham as the "next San Francisco" and the "next Chicago."

I focused on two places where speculators clearly invested a lot of money and effort into building infrastructure in anticipation of a transcontinental railroad line/port on Puget Sound. Bellingham is much bigger than PT, but both Fairhaven and PT are both good examples of what I'm talking about. Ultimately, it wasn't meant to be, and maybe it never would have been. But given the history, it's clear that a lot of people thought it would be....

Interesting links on the railroad and developmental history of Bellingham:

http://www.washingtonhistory.org/fil...006-foster.pdf

Bellingham -- Thumbnail History - HistoryLink.org

Whatcom County -- Thumbnail History - HistoryLink.org
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Seattle WA, USA
3,929 posts, read 2,214,400 times
Reputation: 2610
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartonizer View Post
I'm not really sure what your basis is for not thinking that Bellingham or Port Townsend had a shot to be much bigger deals at one time. I'm relating what plenty of historians and historical markers mention around both cities. Have you visited both places? I agree that Seattle had likely cemented itself as a more substantial city by the 1890 or so, but there's little doubt that things could have been far different for Bellingham if either a) the Northern Pacific chose it as the western terminus instead of Tacoma in 1873, b) the Great Northern had selected it instead of Seattle in the 1880's, c) if the Canadian Pacific had continued to promote it as a terminus and passenger destination after 1891, or d) if the considerable efforts to directly link the town to Spokane via Cascade Pass/Hannegan Pass/North Cascades had been successful in the 1890's and early 1900's.

I also don't disagree that many of the other cities you listed could have been much bigger deals if things had gone a different direction. Many of them had boom and bust periods that could have cemented them as major cities. Again, that was one of the points I made in my original post on this thread. For example, Bellingham's population (before incorporation) was actually estimated to be over 10,000 in the late 1850's when the Fraser Gold Rush took place, making it temporarily much larger than the other cities in the region, some of which didn't even exist yet. Then, similar to Seattle, it developed into a large supplier of timber and coal to points south on the Pacific Coast with significant investors and speculators both locally and in California referred to Bellingham as the "next San Francisco" and the "next Chicago."

I focused on two places where speculators clearly invested a lot of money and effort into building infrastructure in anticipation of a transcontinental railroad line/port on Puget Sound. Bellingham is much bigger than PT, but both Fairhaven and PT are both good examples of what I'm talking about. Ultimately, it wasn't meant to be, and maybe it never would have been. But given the history, it's clear that a lot of people thought it would be....

Interesting links on the railroad and developmental history of Bellingham:

http://www.washingtonhistory.org/fil...006-foster.pdf

Bellingham -- Thumbnail History - HistoryLink.org

Whatcom County -- Thumbnail History - HistoryLink.org
Well I guess they had a shot but a lot of things needed to go right. And as the article you provided about Bellingham they were a bit to late for every economic opportunity. They were late for providing lumber to SF after the fire. They were a bit to late to the Frasier gold rush since the Canadian government made it a requirement that miners come through Victoria rather than Bellingham, I still think that Bellingham could've been much larger, like the size of Tacoma today, but I don't think it had a shot of becoming the major city of the Puget sound.

Largest WA counties in 1860 / 1870
1. Clark: 2,384
2. Thurston: 1,507
3. Walla Walla: 1,318
4. Pierce: 1,115
5. Spokane: 996
6. Kitsap: 544
7. Jefferson: 531
8. Pacific: 420
9. Lewis: 384
10. Whatcom: 352

Largest WA counties in 1870
1. Walla Walla: 5,300
2. Clark: 3,081
3. Thurston: 2,246
4. King: 2,120
5. Spokane: 2,000
6. Pierce: 1,409
7. Jefferson: 1,268
8. Lewis: 888
9. Kitsap: 866
10. Pacific: 738


However I do have to concede that in 1860 King county/Seattle wasn't really on the radar and it seems like Thurston county/Olympia or Pierce county/Tacoma were the most establish ones in Puget sound, with Clark/Vancouver and Walla Walla being the most established in the state. What stopped Olympia's growth? Was Olympia ever planned to be a terminus for the railroad?
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Old 10-15-2017, 04:53 AM
 
1,172 posts, read 478,180 times
Reputation: 1927
Quote:
Originally Posted by grega94 View Post
One thing I'm surprised with is Virginia, why doesn't Virginia have any major cities that date back from the colonial era? Why was Jamestown abandoned?
Jamestown was abandoned because it was a bad place to start a town in the first place.

It has no good water supply source, being surrounded by stagnant marshland and a river containing a high percentage of salt water. The colonists were catching rain water for use.

And all that marshland helped make the mosquito problem worse than in other areas. The colonists were plagued with insect borne illnesses.

The local native tribes had given up on the area long before the colonists decided to settle there.

Which brings another nearby town to mind, Yorktown. It was actually an important port city before the Revolutionary War, but the effects of the final battle and siege of that conflict plus a disastrous fire in 1814 that destroyed much of the town sealed its fate. It's pretty much a tiny village today, though one worth visiting if you're in the area of Williamsburg and Jamestown.
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:44 PM
 
Location: North Carolina
433 posts, read 248,497 times
Reputation: 653
What about New Bern, NC?

At one point, it was the largest city in NC, and was also the state capital, but numerous political and economic changes essentially pulled the rug out from underneath the city multiple times.

After the lumber business tanked in 1920, it seemed like New Bern just sort of fell off the map.
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Old 10-16-2017, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Washington State desert
5,537 posts, read 3,690,388 times
Reputation: 4119
As for the 1860's-1890's, not sure of the relevance, especially in the west, or pacific northwest. Yes, I understand the historical references related to population, but this was a completely different era in the west. I think the industrial revolution is the most relevant starting point, and this is when cities in the NW started to really gain traction, mostly after the turn of the 20th century, though the Gold Rush earlier can't be dismissed.
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Old 10-17-2017, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Washington State desert
5,537 posts, read 3,690,388 times
Reputation: 4119
Quote:
Originally Posted by pnwguy2 View Post
As for the 1860's-1890's, not sure of the relevance, especially in the west, or pacific northwest. Yes, I understand the historical references related to population, but this was a completely different era in the west. I think the industrial revolution is the most relevant starting point, and this is when cities in the NW started to really gain traction, mostly after the turn of the 20th century, though the Gold Rush earlier can't be dismissed.
EDIT: Was speaking of the modern industrial revolution in the early 20th century (airplanes, automobiles, etc.)
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Old 10-18-2017, 02:42 PM
 
Location: DFW area
37 posts, read 56,430 times
Reputation: 42
Chattanooga, Tennessee is one of the greatest examples. Everything was in place for it to be a great City, Rail lines the Tennessee River running through town for shipping and various businesses like Coca-Cola that was starting in the city and becoming big. But the old money in the city wanting it to remain small so they use their influence to keep it that way and a lot of the things that would have happened in Chattanooga moved down the road to Atlanta.
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Old 10-18-2017, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Land of Ill Noise
956 posts, read 1,774,451 times
Reputation: 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjv007 View Post
Philly could have become a much greater city both in actuality and reputation without New York hovering overhead. It's difficult to stand out with the world's greatest city less than 50 miles away.
I agree about that. At least it seems like Philly is making a small comeback population wise, via NYC residents priced out of that city relocating there. And as the funny nickname I've sometimes heard people call it via hearing it online, the 'sixth borough'. I don't know if necessarily it's gaining a lot of new companies moving into there, that'd be a good question I'd like to know.
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