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About this collection

This collection includes a variety of materials related to the history of the Lake Washington Ship Canal such as maps, photographs, postcards, correspondence, tourism ephemera, and more. Discussion of the canal dates back to 1854 when Seattle pioneer Thomas Mercer proposed the idea of Lake Union serving as a connection point between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington. Over the next 50 years, various routes were considered for the canal, including a short-lived attempt to build a South Canal through Beacon Hill. Finally in 1909, local government provided funding to enlarge the Montlake Cut and in 1910, federal funding was approved for the creation of the ship canal and locks. The locks were officially opened on July 4, 1917. For a comprensive history of the ship canal and locks, take a look at "Dig the Ditch!: The History of the Lake Washington Ship Canal."

 

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south canal north canal

locks

 

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