Seattle's Denny Regrade second phase is completed on October 31, 1911.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 1/16/1999
  • Essay 710
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On October 31, 1911, the second phase of the Denny Regrade is completed. The regrade of Denny Hill is one of several projects designed to make more level the steep hills of Seattle.

The massive regrade established a uniform grade not to exceed 5 percent (no more than a 5 foot rise every 100 feet) to allow horse-drawn wagons to travel the streets more expeditiously. It incorporated an area from 2nd Avenue to 5th Avenue and from Pike Street to Cedar Street. It took eight years to sluice more than 5 million cubic yards of dirt, mostly into Elliott Bay.

The greatest excavations of Denny Hill were along Blanchard Street, which was lowered 107 feet at 4th Avenue and 93 feet at 5th Avenue. The contract for the excavation of the hill was originally awarded to C. J. Erickson (1852-1937) in 1903, but in 1907 was transferred to Rainier Development Company. A high embankment remained along 5th Avenue until December 10, 1930, when the final phase of the Denny Regrade was completed.


Myra L. Phelps and Leslie Blanchard, Public Works in Seattle: A Narrative History: The Engineering Department 1875-1975. (Seattle: Seattle Engineering Department, 1978), 19-20. See also Archie Satterfield, The Seattle Guide Book (Old Saybrook, Connecticut: The Globe Pequot Press, 1994), 198.

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