This People's History of Edison Boat Shop is taken from Building for Learning: Seattle Public School Histories, 1862-2000 by Nile Thompson and Carolyn J. Marr. That book, published in 2002 by Seattle Public Schools, compiled profiles of all the public school buildings that had been used by the school district since its formation around 1862. The profiles from the book are being made available as People's Histories on HistoryLink.org courtesy of Seattle Public Schools. It should be noted that these essays are from 2000. Some of the buildings profiled are historic, some of recent vintage, and many no longer exist (new names and buildings not included in these profiles from 2000 have been added), but each plays or has played an important role in the education of Seattle's youth.
Edison Boat Shop
Boat-building classes in Seattle School District began at Central II in 1917 but soon shifted to Broadway High School as a part of the Evening School. They were later moved to Edison Vocational School, where they were held in the Edison Building.
In October 1936, the district rented property on north Lake Union, which included not only the building and dry dock, but also equipment and machinery. In its search for a teacher, the district "found just the man in 55-year-old James Chambers, graduate of Scotland's famed River Clyde boatworks."
During World War II, when vocational classes were geared toward the war effort, the site was sublet to an individual who operated it as a private boat shop. By 1946, the Broadway Edison Boat Shop had opened on Lake Union in the leased building. Boats built by students were sold at open houses. In 1950, for example, two 21-foot runabouts and two 26-foot sloops were built and sold.
Edison Boat Shop became part of Seattle Community College in 1966, and the following year it was transferred to the State of Washington. Around 1975, the site was sold to Dunato's Marine Service & Supply, which remodeled the building over the years before selling it around 1988. When the school operation closed on Lake Union, marine carpentry classes were transferred to the Gompers Branch (see Rainier).
Name: Boat Shop, Edison Technical School
Location: 1115 N Northlake Way
ca. 1937: Opened
ca. 1975: Closed; site sold
Use of former Edison Boat Shop site in 2000
Ocean Alexander Yacht Sales