Trace the map of Seattle and follow history via the names of the men who claimed its acreage: Mercer, Denny, Yesler. The city itself takes its moniker from the native chief who preceded them. But scratch just slightly below the official record and it’s clear—thousands of women shaped the city we know today.

They were teachers who turned a grubby logging port into a community, founders who launched Seattle institutions. They were cops who cared about poor youth and chefs who reimagined what excellence looked like. They were the prostitutes who defined stable industry and the athletes who brought home medals.

Not every achievement comes with a plaque or a thoroughfare named in your honor. Sometimes the only legacy is the city itself, shaped by moves that echo across centuries and generations. What we know about Seattle comes from the work of a thousand hands; the women behind some of those hands are stronger, smarter, and stranger than you may have ever realized.

In This Feature:

8 Legacies That Visionary Women Gave Seattle

Among them: a tugboat enterprise, a life-saving children's hospital, a literature hub.

11/26/2019 By Allison Williams, Stefan Milne, Allecia Vermillion, and Lily Hansen

Meet the Women Who Fought for Their Place in Seattle Politics

Political pioneers like Bertha Knight Landes, Ruby Chow, and Patty Murray are the real MVPs.

11/26/2019 By Stefan Milne, Courtney Cummings, Lily Hansen, and Sam Jones

Lou Graham Was Seattle's Madam with the Mostest

Meet the brothel owner who helped fund the city's revival after the Great Fire of 1889.

11/26/2019 By Allison Williams

6 Seattle Luminaries on Their First Big Wins

From judicial prowess to championship bona fides.

11/26/2019 By Allison Williams, Allecia Vermillion, and Lily Hansen

Guendolen Plestcheeff Was the Ultimate Seattle Influencer

Sure, she threw an epic soiree, but the daughter of one of the city's founding families also oversaw the Seattle Historical Society.

11/26/2019 By Allecia Vermillion

Meet Sylvia Hunsicker, Seattle's First Policewoman

In 1911, the trailblazing cop donned an altered man's uniform and didn't take any guff.

11/26/2019 By James Ross Gardner

3 Seattle Pioneers You Need to Know

How Lizzie Ordway, Emily Inez Denny, and Princess Angeline made their marks before the turn of the century.

11/26/2019 By Sam Jones, Allison Williams, and Rosin Saez