Document 54: Ship Canal

Hiram M. Chittenden, “Canal and Waterway,” The Argus (16 December 1911): 24.

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Drainage and Reclamation

The immediate result of lowering the level of Lake Washington and of digging the enlarged Duwamish channel will be to solve definitely the drainage and reclamation problems around the Lake and in the lower Duwamish valley. Cedar River will run directly into Lake Washington, and its floods will be taken entirely out of the Duwamish. This relief and the greatly increased capacity of the Duwamish channel ought to take care of any flood that is liable to occur in the valley of that stream

Around Lake Washington there will be large areas of land which will be reclaimed by the lowering of the lakes. In part this will be available for industrial establishments and in part is will be available for residence and parking purposes. The uncovering of this belt of land around the lakes affords a rare opportunity to protect the scenic beauty of the lake shores and at the same time facilitate industrial growth in situations adapted to it. Before the lake is finally lowered a definite policy should be adopted and possibly crystallized into legislation, to regulate the platting and disposition of these lands in such a way as will best protect the interests of the present shore owners and of the people at large.

Industrial Development

The opening of the low lands along the Duwamish River and around the shores of the lakes to both rail and water communications will provide a large increase in available factory sites, the present lack of which, at moderate prices, affords so much ground for complaint…In one particular respect—the development of the timber industry—that portion of the harbor above the lock certainly affords the finest opportunities that can be found anywhere. In view of the fact that the Panama Canal will undoubtedly open up the Atlantic Coast to our local timber market and that vessels arriving here will wish to take lumber in return cargoes, it would seem as if the manufacture of timber products here where they can be easily brought to the ships should lead to the extensive development of that industry in the lakes.

Motor Boat Traffic

The immense advantages to motor boat traffic both on the Sound and on the lakes by connecting the lakes and building the lock can be fully appreciated only by those who are conversant with the its present magnitude and rapid development. There is no doubt that it will enter very largely into the practical business life of this community. The great focus of this traffic will, in all probability, be the south end of Lake Union, and to this point boats from every part of the lakes, and very likely many parts of the sound, will come for landing…

Ship Building Industry

The lakes should also afford the most perfect advantages to be found anywhere for the development of ship-building industry, and it will be strange if they are not taken advantage of in this respect and if they do not practically absorb this industry upon Puget Sound.

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest