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Chinese laborers dig second Montlake Cut between Union Bay and Portage Bay in 1883.

HistoryLink.org Essay 3349 : Printer-Friendly Format

In 1883, David Denny (1832-1903) and Thomas Burke (1849-1925)  hire Chinese laborers to dig a canal across what is known as the Montlake Isthmus, the marshy land that separates Union Bay (part of Lake Washington) from Portage Bay (part of Lake Union).

This old Montlake log canal was the second Montlake Cut to connect Lake Washington with Lake Union. The first was a ditch dug by Harvey Pike in 1861.

The log canal was dug in order to float logs from Union Bay to David Denny's Western Mill, which stood at the southern end of Lake Union.

Paul Dorpat, "Log Canal to Portage Bay," Seattle Now & Then 2nd Edition (Seattle: Tartu Publishers, 1997), Story 89; Clarence Bagley, History of Seattle Washington Vol. 1 (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1916), p. 372.

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Related Topics: Seattle Neighborhoods | Infrastructure | Asian & Pacific Islander Americans |

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Eastlake, Latona, Portage Bay, Union Bay, Seattle, 1894
Courtesy U.S. Geological Survey

Montlake log canal, also called Portage Bay Canal, Seattle, ca. 1890
Courtesy Lawton Gowey

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