Green Lake, 1913

Item 29187, Don Sherwood Parks History Collection (Record Series 5801-01), Seattle Municipal Archives.

  • Martin van Duijn PRO 6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Railroad guesses and memories North America, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • Cornelius Koelewijn PRO 6y

    Amazing the data on this picture were preserved so well. The train looks like a typical train used by contractors to build roads and other large projects. I can't see however what make of engine it is.
  • Mark Sullivan 5y

    My guess is that this is just about where the playgrounds and parking lot are near the East bathing beach
  • jandtc89 4y

    This is not Green Lake, at least not the Green Lake near highway 99 and the Woodland Park Zoo. Green Lake isn't nearly this long. This looks more like Lake Washington. I grew up in Seattle and remember the hydroplane races on Green Lake when I was a kid (before they moved them to Lake Washington for Sea Fair Week).
  • Rob Ketcherside PRO 4y

    I featured this in a Seattlest Re:Take on May 23, 2011.

    Green Lake, 1913 and 2010 by Rob Ketcherside
  • severinus 4y

    Anyone know if this fill was just dirt removed from exposed shoreline elsewhere on the lake, or if it was hauled up from one of the regrades in town?

    Looking at a slightly different shot over at SMA, I can't make out any markings on the engine, but one of the cars reads "Olson & Mellen - 6 - Western Dump Car". Olson & Mellen were one of the firms involved in the Jackson Regrade, which would've been going on at the same time as this (1907-1914). It seems like it would take more to fill that area of land (shallow though it may have been) than would have been exposed elsewhere around the lake. Not sure if Jackson Street to Green Lake would've been feasible by railcar, but it's neat to imagine there might be some of that fill in there.

    Anyway, Olson was Olof E. Olson, described as a "railroad contractor" in a 1923 ad for National City Bank of Seattle (he was an officer of the bank). His firm of O. E. Olson & Co. was apparently involved in both the railroads and traditional building construction: the only things that come up when I search for the company are railroad death records and lawsuits over failure to pay subcontractors.

    No idea on Mellen though. Railroads and Mellen suggests Charles Mellen, who had some dealings in Seattle when he was president of the Northern Pacific, but given his fame there'd surely be mention of him by (full) name if he was the man in question. Since there's not, I assume it's some other mystery Mellen.

    Other than the Jackson Regrade and apparently filling in part of Green Lake, the only other significant project I find evidence of Olson & Mellen working on was rebuilding the Snohomish County Courthouse in 1910 (they got sued). Their new courthouse is still standing.
  • Miles PRO 1y


    Greenlake used to be bigger, after Ravenna creek was diverted it shrank roughly a third.
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Taken on January 4, 1913
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