Historic Maps

The slide show above includes “before” and “after” maps of six different areas affected by the 1916-1917 construction of the Locks, the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and the Montlake Cut. The mapping showing landscape conditions prior to Euro-American settlement was created by the Puget Sound River History Project at the UW’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences, using various historical sources. A partial list of map sources can be found at the Burke Museum website.

Many thanks to Amir Sheikh, an interdisciplinary researcher who worked on both the Puget Sound River History Project and Waterlines, for making this data available to Making the Cut. 

Additional Cartographic Resources

A number of other historic maps provide insight into the history of the Ship Canal. Most are available the Special Collections, University of Washington; the UW Library Digital Collections (http://content.lib.washington.edu/; the Seattle Public Library; the Puget Sound Regional Archives, Bellevue College; King County Archives; or Washington State University Digital Collections  (http://content.libraries.wsu.edu/). Some of these are listed below:

  • The Baist Real Estate Atlases of 1905, 1908, and 1912. The 1912 Baist is available digitally.
  • The Kroll Atlases of Seattle and King County, beginning in 1911.
  • The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. Available online through Seattle Public Library and other sources.
  • City of Seattle, Washington Territory, 1874. A.M. Machintosh.
  • Cadastral Map of Seattle (U.S. Bureau of Land Management, 1856).
  • Historical Changes to Lake Washington and Route of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, King County, Washington, by Michael Chrzastowski, 1983. The map was drawn in conjunction with a report of the same name published by the U.S. Geological Survey (http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/1981/1182/report.pdf).
  • McKee’s Correct Road Map of Seattle and Vicinity, 1894.
  • Authorized birds eye view of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, 1909. WSU Libraries Digital Collections.
  • Proposed route of canal to connect Lakes Union and Washington with Puget Sound, 1891. WSU Libraries Digital Collections.
  • Bird’s eye view of the city of Seattle, W.T., Puget Sound, county seat of King County 1884
  • Birds Eye View of Seattle and Environs, 1891. UW Libraries Digitized Collections.
  • Birds Eye View, City of Seattle and vicinity, 1904. UW Libraries Digitized Collections.
  • Birds Eye View of the University of Washington campus and sundry doings thereon, 1932. Seattle Public Library
  • Guide map of Seattle showing tide lands to be filled and canal to be constructed by the Seattle and Lake Washington Company, 1895. WSU Libraries Digital Collections.
  • Lake Washington, Washington 1904. WSU Libraries Digital Collections.
  • Present Survey Maps of Lake Washington, Shilshole Bay, and Lake Union.
  • 1894 survey for the U.S. War Department, filed with King County Auditor. State of Washington Board of Land Appraisers King County Map of Ballard Tide Lands. Available at King County Archives.
  • Washington State Board of Land Commissioners Maps of Seattle and Ballard Tide Lands, “showing changes in harbor or waterway lines as corrected to conform to harbor or pierhead lands of Lake Washington Canal as established by U.S.,” 1913. Available at King County Archives.