The Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Mills of Salmon Bay
Error in Judgment
An 1898 Superior Court judgment over the compensation to mill and other property owners along Salmon Bay indicated that water level behind the locks would be raised by seven feet. However, Chittenden attested that surveys had predicted a nine-foot rise, not seven. The court insisted that the number in the judgment was binding. This error meant that the mills would be flooded by an additional two feet of water, for which they had not been compensated. The City of Seattle’s plans to regrade Shilshole Avenue above the waterline were also affected.
King County was required to conduct a second condemnation action in 1915, prior to canal completion, to accommodate the actual water level. The drawings and photographs from Salmon Bay Condemnation Survey No. 1255 document the mill properties, buildings, and equipment, indicating the locations of the seven-foot and nine-foot water lines.
Top left: Seattle Cedar Lumber Company Mill, 1915. Item 51805. Top right: Seattle Daily Times, July 1, 1913, front page. Center: Detail from cross-sectional drawing of Cedar Manufacturing Company Mill, Records of County Engineer, Salmon Bay Waterway Condemnation Survey No. 1255, Series 276, Roll 2a, King County Archives. Above right: Cover of survey field book 422C, 1915. Records of County Engineer, Salmon Bay Waterway Condemnation Survey No. 1255, Series 276, Box 2, King County Archives. Photos at bottom from left: Canal Lumber Company, Seattle Cedar Lumber Company, and Bolcom Mill, 1915. Items 51828, 51801, 51930, Series 2613-07, Engineering Department Photographic Negatives, Seattle Municipal Archives.