Statue of Chief Seattle overlooking Tilikum Place. Cedar Street is in the background.
|Etymology||"Welcome," "greetings" (Chinook Jargon)|
|Operated by||Seattle Parks and Recreation|
|Open||6 a.m. – 10 p.m.|
Location and history
The site once marked the junction of the land claims of Arthur Denny, William Nathaniel Bell, and Carson Boren. The triangular plaza lies at the intersection of 5th Avenue, Cedar Street, and Denny Way.
Tilikum Place has several tables and benches for public use. Lighting was installed in 2008.
Chief Seattle statue
A notable feature of the square is the life-size statue of Chief Seattle by local sculptor James Wehn. The copper statue, which weighs between 300 and 400 lbs. (136–181 kg), shows Seattle with his right hand extended as if in greeting. The statue stands atop a stone base that was designed to serve as a fountain, although the fountain has been turned off and on over the years.
Commissioned in 1907, Wehn's design suffered from multiple poor castings and was finally sent to New York for casting. The statue was formally unveiled in Tilikum Place by Myrtle Loughery, a great-great-granddaughter of Chief Seattle, on November 13, 1912. The statue was the first commissioned in Seattle and only the city's second piece of public art in all.
After unsuccessful proposals to move the statue to locations such as Duwamish Head, Denny Park, and Pioneer Square, the statue was removed for cleaning in anticipation of the Century 21 Exposition of 1962. Wehn objected to a proposal to turn the statue around so it would face the then-new Seattle Center Monorail. After its cleaning, the statue was returned to its original location and orientation, facing Elliott Bay.
By 1980, the statue had turned green. A local taxi driver attempted to clean it himself, scratching it and exposing its original bronze color. A subsequent restoration revealed that the statue had been painted in gold leaf.
- Tilikum Place. Seattle Parks and Recreation. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Morgan, Brandt. Enjoying Seattle's Parks. Cited in Tilikum Place. Seattle Parks and Recreation. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Sherwood, Donald. Tilikum Place. Sherwood Park History Files. Seattle Parks and Recreation. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Murakami, Kerry. No Parking Anytime: Chief Seattle statue is no longer in the dark. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2008-12-08. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- City Ordinance 112273. City of Seattle Legislative Information Service. Retrieved 2012-05-07.