Check out the Seattle Times “Now and Then” column in the Pacific Northwest Magazine in the Seattle Times on Sunday, September 15, 2019. It features a 1908 postcard with a panoramic photo taken from Fremont Hill, looking across Lake Union to Capitol Hill.
The writer sent the postcard to his cousin in San Francisco to let him know he had arrived in Seattle. He reported that it was a great city and that opportunities for a young man were plentiful. He had found a job and was starting work on Monday. Today’s new arrivals could have written the same message, but it would have been that opportunities were plentiful for men and women and it would have been sent electronically to family and friends.
Seattle’s earliest white settlers saw immediately that it would be possible to connect its freshwater lakes to the saltwater Puget Sound by means of a canal. At a Fourth of July picnic in 1854, Thomas Mercer proposed the name of Lake Union because that body of water was in the middle between Lake Washington to the east and Puget Sound to the west.
Seattle settlers of the 1850s Thomas Mercer and David Denny took land claims at the south end of Lake Union near today’s Seattle Center. Two single men, John Ross and William Strickler, searched out the land and in 1853-1854 they took claims at the northwest corner of Lake Union, which today is the Fremont neighborhood. It was not until 1916 that a ship canal was constructed which was large enough for industrial use. Continue reading “Fremont and Seattle’s Ship Canal”