At the museum: 100th Anniversary of the Lowering of Lake Washington

Sunday, July 23, 2017

1915 before Lake Washington was lowered
Photo courtesy Shoreline Historical Museum
Photo #1397: The Wurdemann and Rion homes present a stately picture on Bothell Way in 1915, before the lowering of the lake. The photographer is standing at the end of the ferry pier. At the time, the distance between the railroad tracks and the shore was too narrow for home construction.

When the Government Locks (aka Hiram Chittenden Locks or Ballard Locks) were cut through in 1916, and the ship canal between Lake Union and Lake Washington was completed, the water in Lake Washington cascaded into Lake Union, leaving its main drainage, the Black River, without a flow, and permanently baring shoreline that had never before seen the light of day.

The level of Lake Washington was lowered nine feet.

The Shoreline Historical Museum's exhibit “High and Dry: The 100th Anniversary of the Lowering of Lake Washington and its Effects” is on display now at the museum, 18501 Linden Ave N, Shoreline 98133.

Come view amazing photos documenting this era in Lake Forest Park, one of the communities most affected by the lowering of the lake. Museum exhibits and programs are supported by 4Culture, the City of Shoreline and the members and partners of the Museum.

For some, it was a real estate dream come true; for others, it was the most tragic event to ever occur.

The Lake Forest Park Waterfront Addition was platted by Ole Hanson's North Seattle Improvement Company in 1917. However, it took a number of years after the lowering of the lake before the soggy property was usable. 

Photo #764 courtesy Shoreline Historical Museum
In 1924, Hjalmer and Anna Johanson were the first to purchase property in that plat. The whole family posed for a picture, celebrating where their new home would be built, at 17368 Beach Drive NE. From left to right: Einar Johanson, Louisa Johanson, Hazel Johanson, Hjalmer, Bert Hilmo, and Anna and Helga Hilmo.

Visit the Museum website for more information and to support your local historical society. 


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