Lake Washington Ship Canal

The grand opening of the Lake Washington Ship Canal was held on July 4, 1917. Designed by Seattle district engineer Hiram Chittenden of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the canal's construction was the result of more than five decades of discussion on how to connect the saltwater of Puget Sound to the freshwater of Lake Washington via Lake Union.  Early planners envisioned heavy use by coal and naval vessels, but today the locks are predominantly filled with pleasure crafts. The City of Seattle's role included engineering, legal, and public works projects as new bridges, roads, water supply infrastructure and more were required to accommodate the implications of the Ship Canal on Seattle's shape and size. The exhibits below provide insight into how the Ship Canal shaped Seattle's social, physical, and environmental history.

Want more information about the history of the Ship Canal? Check out the Making the Cut website.

   

Life on the Cut (1974-1980)

The City Lends a Hand (1912-1925)

 Fremont Bridge. hardwoods inc  court map
   
   

Salmon Bay Sawmills (1915)

The Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Mills of Salmon Bay (1881-1918)

 Seattle Cedar Lumber Company Mill  Seattle Cedar Lumber Company Mill