Changing the course of Lake Washington
The first Seattle map seen by the outside world was produced in 1854 by a U.S. naval crew that dropped anchor in "Duwamish Bay" to chart its shoreline, part of the government's effort to survey thousands of miles of mostly-uncharted Pacific Northwest coastline. That chart shows a kidney-shaped inlet, half of it mudflats shielded by the roughly rectangular Alki peninsula. Midway down the eastern shore of the bay, at the edge of the mudflats, is a minor point of land with a spattering of about 10 dots representing buildings. The dots are labeled "Seattle," the name pioneers gave to the place where they built rustic homes on the site of an old Indian village.
The Seattle Glover drew in 1878 was a village of about 3,000 people, still focused on the lumber mill and dock at the foot of Yesler Street. Just south of Jackson, the town turned to mudflats. The tiny business district consisted of about six blocks; houses clustered between Seventh Avenue and the waterfront and north to Pine Street.
THE TOWN BEGAN to boom in the early 1880s, spurred by the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad in Tacoma, providing transportation for Puget Sound resources. Streetcars opened new residential areas. Real-estate speculators filed plats, which required new maps. The city needed topographical maps to design water and sewer lines.
Along came birds-eye artist, Augustus Koch, who drew a very different city. By 1891, Seattle's population had exploded to 50,000. Pioneer Square was a bustling commercial crossroads of ships and trains that crossed the mudflats on a network of trestles. Streetcar neighborhoods were booming along Madison Street, the Rainier Valley, up the slopes of Queen Anne Hill and out to Fremont and Ballard - about a dozen streetcar lines in all.
By 1911, Seattle
was bursting its seams, in more ways
than one. The population had multiplied to 240,000. Business, including
estate, was thriving. But the city's famous
hills and lakes and waterways became obstacles. Seattle was fast
becoming mired in its own
Instead of building transit, the city had moved earth, leveling hills and using the dirt to fill the mudflats, digging a ship canal that linked Puget Sound to the lakes, straightening the Duwamish River and building a huge artificial island at its mouth to accommodate shipping. By 1915, Seattle had literally reconstructed its own landscape.
Instead of streetcar lines, roads would direct the city's dynamics. Up to 1940, the Eastside had been virtually irrelevant. Kirkland, linked to Seattle by ferry, shows up on maps from the 1930s, but Bellevue was still populated by berry farmers.
in 1940, came the Lake Washington Floating Bridge. The rest
is history. from: The