Waterway: The Story of Seattle's Locks and Ship Canal

April 14, 2018


Construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal by King County and the Army Corps of Engineers was the culmination of more than 60 years of efforts to join Lake Washington with Puget Sound. When it was first opened in 1916, vessels of all sizes could traverse the divide between fresh- and saltwater – stimulating the economy and spurring shoreline development on the lakes.

Jennifer Ott, co-author with David B. Williams of Waterway: The Story of Seattle's Locks and Ship Canal, will share some of the stories they uncovered in their research about the decades of false starts, the political shenanigans, and far-reaching social, economic, and environmental impacts of the canal's construction and operation. She’ll explore how lowering a lake, raising a bay, and drying up a river created space for industry and recreation and shaped King County’s communities over the past century.


Jennifer Ott
Local Historian and Assistant Director



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