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On July 4, 1917, Seattle celebrated the opening of the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

Some 40 years had passed between when the Ship Canal was first envisioned by non-native settlers and its completion. One of the last decisions to be made about the canal’s design was the placement of the locks, which would impact the mills along Ballard’s Salmon Bay.

Today, the centennial of the canal’s opening gives us occasion to look back at Ballard’s then-burgeoning timber industry, whose buildings and equipment were documented in detail by King County and the City of Seattle as part of the Ship Canal project.


Above: Detail from cross-sectional drawing of the Stimson Mill, 1915. Item 276-45-1, Roll 33, Series 276, Salmon Bay Waterway Condemnation Survey No. 1255, King County Archives.


This joint exhibit of the King County Archives and the Seattle Municipal Archives is part of a regional commemoration of the Lake Washington Ship Canal Centennial. To learn about other exhibits and events relating to the Centennial, visit

Sources: The majority of photographs in this exhibit are from the Seattle Municipal Archives photograph collection. Drawings and maps of mills are from the King County Archives. Other archival records (maps and documents) are presented from both archives. Labor-related images are courtesy of the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections. See bibliography for sources informing the exhibit text. Header and footer banner images are details from the Cedar Manufacturing Company Mill cross-sectional drawing, Series 276, Salmon Bay Waterway Condemnation Survey No. 1255, King County Archives. Exhibit design and production by the King County Archives.

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