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Seattle Washington

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Seattle Waterfront Historical Photo Collection
Photos are courtesy of Seattle Municipal Achieves


Smith Cove

The cove was named after Dr. Henry A. Smith of Wooster, Ohio, in 1853. The cove and its tide flats once stretched as far north as what is now the Interbay Athletic Field. James J. Hill bought 600 acres of these tide flats in 1892 and had them filled in for the western terminal of the Great Northern Railway.

At one time, the terminal included a switchyard, roundhouse, grain elevators, and warehouses as well as piers for oceangoing ships. During the 1911–1916 construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, about 150 acres of Smith Cove tidelands were filled with material from the dredging.

Some tidelands were also reclaimed as sanitary fill. The new Port of Seattle (formed 1911) built Fishermen's Terminal on Salmon Bay and paid the Great Northern $150,000 for the docks and approximately 20 acres of land at Smith's Cove. 

At Smith's Cove they developed two new coal and lumber piers, Pier 40 and 41(renumbered in 1941 as Piers 90 and 91). Pier 41 was the largest pier on the Pacific Coast and believed to have been the world's largest concrete pier at the time.

Central Waterfront

The Central Waterfront of Seattle, in the state of Washington, is the most urbanized portion of the Elliott Bay shore. It runs from the Pioneer Square shore roughly northwest past Downtown Seattle and Belltown, ending at the Broad Street site of the Olympic Sculpture Park.

The Central Waterfront was once the hub of Seattle's maritime activity. Since the construction of a container port to its south in the 1960s, the area has increasingly been converted to recreational and retail uses.

As of 2008, several century-old piers are devoted to shops and restaurants. There are several parks, a Ferris wheel, an aquarium, and one over-water hotel.

Some docks remain on the Central Waterfront, under the authority of the Port of Seattle, including a cruise ship dock, ferry terminals, and a fireboat dock. There are many architectural vestiges of the area's past status as the heart of a port, and a handful of businesses have remained in operation since that time.

East Waterway

The East Waterway is maintained as a navigation channel and is used for Seattle’s main shipping and cargo transport terminus. Since 2006, the Port of Seattle has been working on the environmental cleanup of the East Waterway Superfund Sites. The Port has partnered with the City of Seattle and King County to form the East Waterway Group to conduct these efforts.

Miscellaneous Photos

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