Lake Union Park

A visitor to Lake Union Park sees a lake buzzing with activity. Kayaks, rowboats, yachts, and sailboats criss-cross the water, seaplanes launch and land, and people picnic on the lawn or stroll the lakeshore. The scene is of a city that values its waterfront. It may take imagination to recall a time when present-day Lake Union Park was home to Seattle’s first garbage incinerator, built in 1908. Burning waste, including about one horse a day, ran the steam machinery for the nearby laundry and asphalt plant. Instead of a place to recreate, the lake was a convenient dumping ground for industry. A look at the history of Lake Union reveals a changing relationship between the city and a vital body of water.