Document 41: Duwamish Valley

"Changing the Topography of the Duwamish Valley," Duwamish Valley News (27 November 1914): 1.

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But a small percentage of the residents of Georgetown and the South End realize the great changes that have occurred in the topography of the lower or north end of the Duwamish Valley since the work of straightening the river bed of the old Duwamish was commenced.

Acres on acres of low land and marsh land, uninhabitable by anything but fish and water fowl have become desirable building sites for factories, warehouses or, in some places, residences. The former bed of the Duwamish between Georgetown and Oxbow form a point of some 800 to 1,000 feet north of the Michigan Avenue bridge, to the southern limits of Oxbow has been filled in to a level of the abutting land on each side of the channel. Where but a short time ago men and boys used to catch a creel full of edible fish is now a stretch of solid earth…

The fill required about 650,000 cubic yards of earth and was place there in almost two weeks by the big dredge, Duwamish No. 1, the work commencing on August 29th and was finished November 15th. When the river bed along the county farm was filled in rye was sown and today it presents a stretch of verdant green six inches high and might attractive to the eye, and promises to a heavy crop of first class forage for the county stock. The earth for this fill was taken from the turning basin opposite the King County industrial tracts and a section of the waterway being excavated through the Carstens tract north of Oxbow and has created eighty-six 40-foot lots out of the old river bed which was sold for the cost of filling…

After filling around the county dock site, the dredge will move to the mouth of the waterway south of Spokane Avenue and complete the waterway, making an open and continuous channel from the West Waterway to South Park. The earth from this excavation will be used to fill the Kinnear tract of tidelands under contract already closed.

This work will require about three months or more, probably into early spring. When completed the dredge will very likely be again moved to the completion of the new channel near the southern limits of the city.

Coincident with opening of the mouth of the waterway, the Lake Washington Waterway Company will dredge out the bar in the West Waterway south of Spokane Avenue which has impeded navigation and has been a cause of bitter complaint from the shipbuilding plants located along the Duwamish.

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest