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Lake Washington Ship Canal construction starts on September 1, 1911. Essay 684 : Printer-Friendly Format

On September 1, 1911, work begins on the Lake Washington Ship Canal. Major James B. Cavanaugh with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supervises the construction project. Its purpose is to connect Puget Sound to Lake Union and Lake Washington.

A canal and locks would be built from Salmon Bay on Puget Sound to Lake Union near Fremont. Ground was broken for the construction of the locks on November 10. A second canal would be built between Portage Bay at the east end of Lake Union and Union Bay on Lake Washington. Lake Washington would ultimately be lowered nine feet.

It took four and a half years to complete the canal. On May 8, 1917, ships were able to pass from Puget Sound through Lake Union to Lake Washington. On July 4, 1917, grand opening ceremonies were held.

Seattle Century ed. by Donald H. Clark (Seattle: Seattle Historical Society, 1952), 93. See also Suzanne Larson, History of the Lake Washington Ship Canal (Seattle: King County Arts Commission, 1975), 23.

Travel through time (chronological order):
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Related Topics: Infrastructure | Maritime | Environment |

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Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

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Lake Union by night, seen from Queen Anne Hill, Seattle, 1910s

Construction of Lake Washington Ship Canal, Seattle, 1912
Photo by A. Curtis, Courtesy UW Special Collections (Neg. 255121)

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