Queen Anne Yesterday & Today

Work on the Fremont Cut portion of the Lake Washington Ship Canal is just getting underway in this June 1911 image.  The location of the cut follows the path of Ross Creek, which was the natural outlet of Lake Union.  The creek had been widened into a small canal in 1885 by the Lake Washington Improvement Company.  The company, formed by lumber mill owner David Denny (1832-1903) and a group of local businessmen, hired Chinese laborers to dig canals between lakes Washington and Union and from Lake Union to Salmon Bay.  The flow of water from Lake Union to the canal was controlled by a wooden dam, lock and spillway near the old timber-trestle Fremont Bridge.  The Army Corps of Engineers took over construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and locks after federal funding came through in the 1910 River and Harbor Act.  A steam shovel is visible in the distance, near the present-day location of the Fremont Bridge.

In today’s image, taken from roughly the same vantage point, the Queen Anne and Fremont sides of the canal are obscured by vegetation.  But no structures from the historic image remain, having been removed for the widening of the waterway.  The completed Fremont Cut is 5,800 feet long and 270 feet wide, with a 100-foot wide, 30-foot-deep navigable channel down its center.

 

Historic image courtesy of Washington State Digital Archives

This Week in Queen Anne History

Howe at Nob Hill North: 10/12/62
Howe at Nob Hill North: 10/12/62

Neighbors inspect a tree that fell over Howe Street at Nob Hill Avenue North during the Columbus Day Storm that hit the Pacific Northwest on October 12, 1962.  The storm originated in the central Pacific Ocean as Typhoon Freda and became an extratropical cyclone as it moved over cooler waters and into the jet stream, producing sustained high winds and gusts of up to 80-180 mph that pummeled the coastline and western interior from Northern California to British Columbia.  The storm caused 46 deaths and injured hundreds more.  Damage was estimated at $250 million across the region, over $2 billion in today’s dollars.  Oregon suffered the most damage, accounting for $200 million of the estimated total.  The storm quickly weakened as it moved north past British Columbia.  Although the region has been threatened by extratropical cyclones in the intervening 58 years, none have surpassed or even come close to matching the violent and destructive force of the 1962 Columbus Day Storm.

 

Image credit: Seattle Times

This Week in Queen Anne History

McGraw Street Bridge Dedication -9/16/1936

A young girl holding a bouquet of roses leads an automobile festooned with American flags across the McGraw Street Bridge to kick off the celebration of its opening on September 16, 1936.   Seattle City Engineer Clark Eldridge occupied the car making the inaugural crossing of the WPA-funded, $90,000 span.  Eldridge designed several WPA-funded bridges during his tenure, including the adjacent North Queen Anne Drive Bridge, which also opened in 1936.  The McGraw Street Bridge, which is located on McGraw between Second Avenue North and Nob Hill Avenue, replaced a rickety timber trestle and provided residents of the northeast side of the hill access to the Aurora Avenue Bridge, which opened in 1932.

Image courtesy of Seattle Municipal Archives, #10912