Book Release — Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal

Why does a city surrounded by water need another waterway? Find out what drove Seattle’s civic leaders to pursue the dream of a Lake Washington Ship Canal for more than 60 years and what role that canal has played in the region’s development over the past century. Historians Jennifer Ott and David Williams, author of Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, explore how industry, transportation, and the very character of the city and surrounding region developed in response to the economic and environmental changes brought about by Seattle’s canal and locks.
Watch this space for information on how to obtain a copy of the book.

Shoreline Historical Museum Exhibit — High and Dry: The Lowering of Lake Washington and its Effects

Through research and photographs, the Shoreline Historical Museum’s exhibit will explore the “before” and “after” of the lowering of Lake Washington, and the effects it had on the local environment and lakefront communities. Please check the museum’s website for specific days and times.

The exhibit opening reception will take place Saturday, May 20, at 1:00 p.m. All are invited!

Photo SHM #1397 – Bothell Way crosses in front of the Wurdemann and Rion mansions at Lake Forest Park in 1915, before the lowering of Lake Washington. The railroad tracks, barely visible, run along the edge of the Lake.

Rainier Valley Historical Society Annual Meeting: “Lowering of Lake Washington”

The Rainier Valley Historical Society’s annual meeting will be held Saturday, April 29, at Pioneer Hall in Madison Park. The meeting will feature a talk by Jennifer Ott, historian and co-author of the upcoming publication Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal. We will also screen a short film by videographer Vaun Raymond from his documentary film series Legacy of the Locks & Lake Washington Ship Canal. There will be displays about the effects of the lake lowering on Southeast Seattle; a light lunch will be served. This event is free and open to the public.

Maritime Folknet Songwriting Contest

Maritime Folknet has announced a songwriting contest to commemorate the centennial of the Lake Washington Ship Canal; January 9, 2017 is the deadline for submissions. The top fifteen songs will be professionally recorded by Jack Straw Cultural Center, with funding from King County 4Culture. All muscial genres are encouraged.  Find all the details on their website:





Drawing the Line: A Temporary Tracing of Lake Washington’s Historical Shoreline

A hundred years ago this summer, the Montlake Cut was completed, and Lake Washington began to flow out into Lake Union (and then to Puget Sound, via the Ballard Locks). By October of 1916, Lake Washington was nine feet lower, and a whole lot of places that had been underwater no longer were. On August 28th (Bicycle Sunday), local historian and artist Mikala Woodward will be temporarily reviving this vanished landscape by walking the former shoreline with a field chalker. The journey will begin at the Mount Baker Rowing & Sailing Center at 10 am and wind up at Seward Park in the early afternoon. The chalk line is non-toxic and will last 3-5 days. A handout explaining the project and the history behind it will be available at info stations along the route. Many thanks to Amir Sheikh and the Waterlines Project for historical mapping, and to 4Culture for a generous Heritage Project grant.