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Seattle's Denny Regrade is completed after 32 years on December 10, 1930.

HistoryLink.org Essay 711 : Printer-Friendly Format

On December 10, 1930, the third and final phase of the massive Denny Regrade is completed. This public works project is part of a continuing effort to make more level the steep hills of Seattle.

The third phase of the Denny Regrade, begun in 1928, removed more than 4.2 million cubic yards of dirt from city streets (and another 1.5 million cubic yards of earth from private properties) in the area just north of downtown Seattle between 5th Avenue and Westlake Avenue and between Virginia Street and Harrison Street. Most of the fill was removed by conveyor belt to barges along the waterfront. Barges dropped the dirt into Elliott Bay.

Denny Hill was lowered in three phases -- 1898-1899, 1903-1911, and 1928-1930 -- over the course of 32 years.

Archie Satterfield, The Seattle Guide Book (Old Saybrook, Connecticut: The Globe Pequot Press, 1994), 202; Myra L. Phelps, Public Works in Seattle: A Narrative History, The Engineering Department, 1875-1975 (Seattle: Seattle Engineering Department, 1978), 29-33.
Note: This essay was expanded slightly on March 31, 2015.

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Salvaged Denny School (1884-1928) cupola, Denny Park immediately before regrade, Seattle, ca. 1930
Courtesy The Town Crier

Conveyer flume and barges dump third Denny Regrade dirt into Elliott Bay, Seattle, ca. 1929-1930
Courtesy Paul Dorpat

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