The Puget Sound region was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years before settlers arrived. After initially landing at Alki Beach in West Seattle, the Denny Party established a settlement on the eastern shores of Elliott Bay in 1852. For years, the cultural and commercial life centered around Yesler's Wharf and Sawmill. The city grew rapidly following the 1870s after the discovery of coal in the Cascade foothills. The entire commercial district was incinerated in the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, but it was quickly rebuilt out of enduring brick and stone. The city stumbled economically following the Panic of 1893, but it recovered after the Klondike Gold Rush began in 1897. By the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle was the undisputed leader in the Pacific Northwest.