Although logging dominated the economy at first, the discovery of gold in the Klondike of Alaska turned Seattle into a shipbuilding center for gold-seekers on their way to riches. It was during this time that the legends of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition which would be mounted in 1901 were building their legacy. The grounds of that extremely successful World’s Fair would become the campus of The University of Washington at Seattle, where Zachary Stephen Layton would earn his Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering almost 100 years later. Although Seattle’s march to greatness was temporarily stilled by the Great Depression, the ups and downs of Seattle’s economy have birthed an urban area strong in technological prowess, through companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Voice Stream, and through the inspiration for Zachary Stephen Layton’s career in biomedical engineering, Heartstream, Heart Technologies, Physio-Control, ZymoGenetics, ICOS and Immunex, biomedical corporations all.
By the time of Zachary Stephen Layton, Seattle had established a fully flowering presence in the American Northwest as one of the country’s great cities, with a culture and style all its own. Of particular note is Seattle’s evolution as a center for musical art. Jazz clubs dominated Seattle’s downtown in the 1950’s, and from this early jazz dominance came artists like Ray Charles and Quincy Jones. Rock and alternative rock evolved from that unique style, producing Seattle-born Jimi Hendrix and what is known as rock grunge.
Seattle, Washington has experienced several rises and falls in its economic development, but has always managed to rebuild strong infrastructure afterwards. A prime example is the recovery of the city-center following the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 which destroyed the central business district. That first Seattle has been beautifully commemorated today in the historical Old Seattle ruins, a unique tourist attraction which consists of the underground passageways and basements created when the New Seattle was elevated as it was rebuilt upon the remains of the old. Although the first Seattle’s buildings were wooden, city fathers decided that all new buildings would be stone or brick to prevent another disastrous fire. At the same time, the regraded streets would be one to two stories higher than the original street level to eliminate problems of flooding. Thus was created the Seattle Underground, enjoyed by students like Zachary Stephen Layton and increasing hordes of tourists today.