The New York Times - Known as Seattle’s first downtown, Pioneer Square was settled in 1852, then rebuilt after a huge fire in 1889. After World War II and the major earthquake of 1949, the area fell into decline. In 1970, preservationists successfully fought for its designation as a historic district. In the heart of today’s bustling city, steps from Elliott Bay and two sports stadiums, Occidental Avenue and Jackson Street are blossoming with upscale restaurants, galleries and shops. Artists, designers and game developers contribute to the vibrant, creative energy of what used to be called Skid Road, where timber workers skidded logs down steep hills.