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.


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

Municipal Archives, City Clerk

Anne Frantilla, City Archivist
Address: 600 Fourth Avenue, Third Floor, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94728, Seattle, WA, 98124-4728
Phone: (206) 684-8353

The Office of the City Clerk maintains the City's official records, provides support for the City Council, and manages the City's historical records through the Seattle Municipal Archives. The Clerk's Office provides information services to the public and to City staff.