Montlake Cut

Imagine waking up one morning to discover that your house, next to lapping water when you went to bed, was now next to a wide mud beach. The lowering of Lake Washington happened overnight when the Montlake Cut was completed in 1916 through the natural isthmus between Portage Bay and Lake Washington. Washington dropped nearly 9 feet to match Lake Union’s depth. Before the cut provided passage to large ships, a crude canal and log flume moved timber from Lake Washington shores to the sawmills on Lake Union.

Forrest Goodfellow
 Forrest Goodfellow, in his beloved Peterborough canoe, drops the last few feet at the end of the old logging flume into Portage Bay. This photo, circa 1907, looks west across Portage Bay from the west end of the Montlake Cut, at the current finish line of the crew race course. Image courtesy of Bill Walker.