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Local historian to talk on Seattle’s ‘Waterway’ April 14

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff
On July 4, 1917, amid much fanfare, the Lake Washington Ship Canal opened to the public. Construction of the canal by King County and the Army Corps of Engineers was the culmination of more than 60 years of efforts to join Lake Washington with Puget Sound. When it was first opened, vessels of all sizes could traverse the divide between fresh- and saltwater, stimulating the economy and spurring shoreline development on the lakes.
 
A century later, the story of this waterway is still dramatic. The canal has shaped development in the region, but not exactly as its promoters envisioned.
 
pontoon 520 2012 WSDOT(Courtesy photo)On April 14, the Redmond Historical Society will host a talk by Jennifer Ott, co-author with David B. Williams of Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal. She will share some of the stories they uncovered in their research about the decades of false starts, political shenanigans, and far-reaching social, economic, and environmental impacts of the canal’s construction and operation. She’ll explore how lowering a lake, raising a bay, and drying up a river created space for industry and recreation and shaped King County’s communities over the past century.
“The ship canal is a vital part of the maritime industry in Seattle,” says Ott, local historian and assistant director at HistoryLink.org. “The freshwater harbor is still a tremendous asset for ships, Fishermen’s Terminal and other fishing boat moorages provide a home port for the North Pacific fleet, which brings in about half of the American seafood catch annually, and the boatbuilding, recreational boating, and cement plants on the lake rely on access to Puget Sound to thrive.” Ott adds, “With all the growth in the region, we have to decide if and how we are going to reserve industrial lands along the canal, on land that is very valuable for recreational, residential, and retail business uses.”
 
The April 14, 2018 Saturday Speaker Series program, “Waterway: The Story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal,” will be held at Emerald Heights. Plan to park at Redmond High School (17272 NE 104th St, Redmond, WA 98052). Come early and ride the shuttle to Emerald Heights.
 
Shuttle schedule:
Depart Redmond High School (before program)
9:30 am • 9:45 am • 10:00 am
Depart Emerald Heights (after program)
12:15 pm • 12:30 pm • 12:45 pm

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