After a five-month trek from Illinois to Oregon, Arthur Denny and his troop of emigrants sailed north to Puget Sound where, on Nov. 13, 1851, they landed at Alki Point and set up camp. Early the following year, Denny and his compatriots moved across Elliott Bay and established a permanent settlement they would soon name Seattle.

Could it be that Denny had a premonition that relocation would be prudent because, somewhere down the line, getting from Alki to points east and north would become a headache?

Today, that headache has turned into a migraine with the news that the West Seattle Bridge has been closed. The Seattle Department of Transportation has determined that major structural problems could cause the relatively new structure to collapse. The closure is expected to last at least until 2022 and, even after repairs are done, the bridge may only last another 10 years. It is even possible that the fix will not work, and the bridge will never reopen.

West Seattle is a very appealing part of the city. Due to geography, though, it has always felt like a place just a little apart from the rest of Seattle. Now, it is going to feel even more remote for commuters trying to get downtown and for other folks eager to visit that picturesque beach at Alki that the Denny Party rejected.

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