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Shipbuilding and Drydocks: Lake Union Dry Dock
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1515 Fairview Avenue E
The completion of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the buildup to
World War I spurred industrial development at Lake Union. The Lake
Union Dry Dock and Machine Works, founded by yacht designer Otis Cutting
and John L. McLean in 1919, began as a manufacturer of wooden boats and
gradually shifted to marine repair, with the United States government a
major client. By 1929 the firm had five pneumatic dry docks and
between 200 and 300 workers.
Lake Union Dry Dock played an important role in the development
of mass-produced pleasure boats. Their Dream Boat cruiser, first
produced in 1926, became popular nationwide. As of 2007 the company
still operates a full service shipyard on Lake Union.
Smaller boat yards established during the 1920s included
Blanchard's Jensen's, McKinney Brothers', Howard and Sons, and Grandy's.
Many of the workers employed by these firms lived on or near the lake.
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