East Montlake Park
The starting point for miles of waterfront trails makes this park one of the most popular areas in the city. This is a great park between MOHAI and Huskies stadium with waterway in between. Cool features include a totem pole, large observation deck, benches, and walking paths, as well as a trail that connects to W. Montlake Park.
Construction of the Portage Canal in 1885 and the Ship Canal in 1917 had little effect upon the physical conditions of West Montlake Park, for both canals preserved the level of Lake Union (Portage Bay) through a system of locks; the Ship Canal lowered the level of Lake Washington by 9 feet to the level of Lake Union. The Portage Canal locks were between Lakes Washington and Union and between Lake Union and Salmon Bay, while the ship canal locks were built in Salmon Bay, raising a portion of the tidal bay some 20 feet.
This shoreline park was dedicated and the name was taken from the plat of Montlake Park Addition filed in 1908.
The old Portage Canal had been left high and dry upon the lowering of Lake Washington by the Ship Canal and the Old Right-of-Way was "leased" to the Park Department for development as an extension of Washington Park. In 1929 the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries was permitted to build a laboratory on the Old Canal property adjacent to the Yacht Club. The Old Canal had never been filled in, except for Montlake Boulevard when the old bridge was removed. So in 1932 Noble Hoggson, a landscape architect, proposed creation of an aquarium built into the "canyon" of the Old Canal adjacent to the new Fisheries laboratory. It would have occupied the site of the old locks, which by then had been lost in the jungle of trees and undergrowth. Though highly endorsed, this plan never materialized. In 1963 a new "canal" was dug in the Old Right-of-Way, although this one was for the flow of vehicles to the new Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. One segment of the Old Canal is preserved alongside the Museum of History and Industry/McCurdy Park. (Edited from the files of Don Sherwood, 1916-1981, Park Historian.)