Seattle Now & Then: Salmon Bay

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Captioned Salmon Bay, 1887, this is most likely very near the eastern end of the bay where it was fed by Ross Creek, the Lake Union outlet. (Courtesy, Michael Maslan Vintage Posters and Photographs)
THEN: Captioned Salmon Bay, 1887, this is most likely very near the eastern end of the bay where it was fed by Ross Creek, the Lake Union outlet. (Courtesy, Michael Maslan Vintage Posters and Photographs)
NOW: Beginning in 1903 and continuing even after the 1917 opening of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, both Ross Creek and the Salmon Bay shoreline were extensively reshaped for commerce and recreation.
NOW: Beginning in 1903 and continuing even after the 1917 opening of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, both Ross Creek and the Salmon Bay shoreline were extensively reshaped for commerce and recreation.

This picturesque pioneer snapshot was copied from a family album filled with prints, interpreted with terse captions hand-written on their borders. It reads simply “Salmon Bay, 1887,” a date used on several other photographs protected within the album’s covers.  If correct, then this is a rare early photographic record of Salmon Bay.

Appearing in the same Lowman album, this may be the same sail boat, although this was is not dated.  Aftern knowning this image since Michael Maslan first showed it to me, I did not until this afternoon notice that it is a detail made - in part - from the print that follows.  The negative for both is of course wider, at least to the right.  Still not date, but the subject is identified.  (Courtesy Michael Maslan)
Appearing in the same Lowman album, this may be the same sail boat – named the Pauline –  although this print is not dated. After knowing this image since Michael Maslan first showed it to me more than a quarter-century ago, I did not, until this afternoon, notice that it is a detail made – in part – from the print that follows. The negative for both is of course wider, at least it is wider to the right. Still no date, but the subject is identified. (Courtesy Michael Maslan)

X-Lowman-Album-[Shoe-of-Lake-Washington]-w-2-boats-including-sailboat-WEB,-maslan

To the inevitable “where on Salmon Bay?” there are two choices.  The forested hill across the waterway must be either Queen Anne or the part of the Magnolia headland above where the Salmon Bay channel begins out of Shilshole Bay – near Ray’s boathouse.  Both sites would have required James Lowman, the owner of the photo album and probably both the camera and the sailboat, to reach the bay by sailing from the Seattle waterfront around the Magnolia peninsula. The voyage may well have begun at Yesler’s Wharf, which Lowman managed for his uncle, Henry Yesler.

This boat is for rowing on - the album notes - "On the lake."  It does not tell us what lake, although it is almost certainly either Union or Washington.
This boat is for rowing on – the album notes – “On the lake.” It does not tell us what lake, although it is almost certainly either Union or Washington.

 Jean and I chose the Queen Anne site, largely on the evidence of the timber trestle that runs beside the distant shoreline.  It was also in 1887 that the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad completed its line from the Seattle waterfront north through Interbay to Salmon Bay, and then east to Lake Union along Ross Creek, the lake’s outlet below the north end of Queen Anne Hill.  In 1887 there may have been some settlers’ docks beside Salmon Bay, but no extended trestles except this one.

Salmon Bay - and Magnolia - as the federal surveyors first drew it in the late 1850s.  Note where the bay is met by the creek near the right border.
Salmon Bay (although named Shilshole) – and Magnolia – as the federal surveyors first drew it in the late 1850s. Note where the bay is met by the creek near the number “13” close to the right border.  In this editing the borders for the first claims in Interbay and the future Ballard have been drawn in.
This helpful map drawn by the U.S. Dept of Commerce about a quarter-century ago, shows the shoreline of Salmon Bay before and after the filling of it behind the Chittenden Locks in 1916.  This is a detail from the larger map that also shows the changes for all of the canal and the lakes too.
This helpful map drawn by the U.S. Dept of Commerce about a quarter-century ago, shows the shoreline of Salmon Bay before and after the filling of it behind the Chittenden Locks in 1916. This is a detail from the larger map that also shows the changes for all of the canal and the lakes too.   CLICK IT!   Note the 8th Avenue railroad bridge  to the right of the shadowed crease in the map.
Looking west up the canal past an unidentified vessel to the railroad's 8th Avenue bridge, which was ordinarily open like the Great Northern bridge west of the Chittenden Locks.
Looking west up the canal past an unidentified vessel to the railroad’s 8th Avenue bridge, which was ordinarily open like the Great Northern bridge west of the Chittenden Locks.
Looking east at the same tug-guided vessel heading for the lakes.
Looking east at the same tug-guided vessel heading for the lakes.
Another look west along the completed canal with the 8th Ave. railroad bridge showing on the left and Ballard beyond it. (Courtesy, MOHAI)
Another look west along the completed canal with the 8th Ave. railroad bridge – here down – seen on the left and steaming Ballard beyond it.  The south entrance to the Fremont Bridge is far right. (Courtesy, MOHAI)
I confess to not having studied this charming waterway with the rigor required to confirm that it is what it claims to be: the outlet for Lake Union heading west to Ballard; that is Ross Creek.  The mill we see on the dim horizon is then one of Ballard's and the little bridge perhaps the first one built for the railroad (first the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern) in 1887 before it was replaced ultimately with the 8th Ave. bascule.
I confess to not having studied this charming waterway with the rigor required to confirm that it is what it claims to be: the outlet for Lake Union heading west to Ballard; that is Ross Creek. The mill we see on the dim horizon is then one of Ballard’s and the little bridge perhaps the first one built for the railroad (first the Seattle Lake Shore and Eastern) in 1887 before it was replaced ultimately with the 8th Ave. bascule.
The first Army Corp decreed digging of the canal between Fremont and Ballard, and early, 1903.  The creek was "regularized" but the funding insufficient to do much more.  This scene like the one above it (we think) looks west.  (Courtesy, Army Corps of Engineers)
The first Army Corp decreed digging of the canal between Fremont and Ballard, and early, 1903. The creek was “regularized” but the funding insufficient to do much more. This scene like the one above it (we think) looks west. (Courtesy, Army Corps of Engineers)
The shaped ditch looking back at the still low Fremont Bridge with Lake Union dam just beyond, circa 1903.
The shaped ditch, looking back at the still low Fremont Bridge with the Lake Union dam just beyond it, circa 1903. (Courtesy, Army Corps of Engineers)
James Lowman in his "chamber of commerce prime."
James Lowman in his “chamber of commerce prime.”  (Courtesy, The Rainier Club)
Copied from the family album, the Lowman Mansion at the southeast corner of Boren Avenue and Marion Street in 1894. (Courtesy, Michael Maslan)
Copied from the family album, the Lowman Mansion at the southeast corner of Boren Avenue and Marion Street in 1894. (Courtesy, Michael Maslan)
The album's caption names the dogs on the Lowman's front porch but not the women.
The album’s caption names the dogs on the Lowman’s front porch but not the women.
Looking to the northeast towards the Lowman Home from the corner of Boren and Columbia in 1896.
Looking to the northeast towards the Lowman Home from the corner of Boren and Columbia in 1896.  (Courtesy – like all those form the Lowman Album – of Michael Maslan)
A page from the Lowman Family Album.
A page from the Lowman Family Album, FOLLOWED BY SIX MORE.
This illuminated tableau has some classical allusion that is, at least, lost on me, although it surely pleases me.
This illuminated tableau has some classical allusion that is, at least, lost on me, although it surely pleases me and, I suspect, you too.   Lowman was one of the founders of The Seattle Theatre.

album Lowman-He-loves-me-He-loves-me-not-WEB

album-[The-Three-Graces]-3-women-stand-over-painting-interiror,-maslanWEB

Album-Boy-sits-in-parlor-WEB Album-woman-and-boy-w-dog-WEB

In 1946, after greeting his 89th birthday with a morning visit to his barber, James Lowman returned to his First Hill mansion, The Seattle Times reported, to spend “several hours . . . reminiscing over a volume containing pictures of Seattle’s pioneer residences.  In it is a picture of his home.”  Somewhere between “very likely” and “highly possible,” the album that Lowman lost himself in was the one uncovered by friend Michael Maslan, a collector and dealer in vintage photographs and posters.

Lowman ritually pouring tea for his wife.
Lowman ritually pouring tea for his wife.

In the early 1980s Mike shared the Lowman album with me for copying and study.  I have often used it in these pages.  Included are pictures of Mary Emery Lowman, whom James married two years after he, we assume, photographed this Salmon Bay scene.  Perhaps Mary is sitting in the sailboat and being courted.  She would have been 24 years old.  Married in 1889, they lived together for a half-century on First Hill, until Mary’s death in 1939.  Still living in his mansion, James died eight year later at age 90.

A friend, most likely, posing in costume and in the album.
A friend, most likely, posing in costume and in the album.
The unintended effects of a double exposure - in the album.  (Courtesy again of Michael Maslan)
The unintended effects of a double exposure – in the album. (Courtesy again of Michael Maslan)

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, Paul?

Jean I hear the pacing of soft pads with retracted claws signaling me to nighty-bears.   It is 3am, but Ron Edge will be up soon – most likely around 5am – and put up, I believe, no less than NINE relevant links.   Early Sunday afternoon I’ll return for proofreading and  with two features printed now long ago in the Times, and one of them also in the second Seattle Now and Then volume.  Both are short essays on two more of Lowman’s nature subjects – Lake Union shorelines – and like our feature at the top, both are dated from or in 1887.

THEN: A Seattle Street and Sewer Department photographer recorded this scene in front of the nearly new City-County Building in 1918.  The view looks west from 4th Avenue along a Jefferson Street vacated in this block except for the municipal trolley tracks.  (Photo courtesy Seattle Municipal Archive)

THEN: Looking east from the roof of the still standing testing lab, the Lock’s Administration Building (from which this photograph was borrowed) appears on the left, and the district engineer’s home, the Cavanaugh House (still standing) on the center horizon. (Photo courtesy Army Corps of Engineers at Chittenden Locks)

17web

THEN: From the Fremont Bridge, this subject looks northwest across the torrent that followed the washout of the Fremont Dam in the early afternoon of March 13, 1914.  Part of the Bryant Lumber and Shingle Mill appears left-of-center.  The north end of the Stone Way Trestle appears in the upper right corner. (Courtesy, Seattle Municipal Archives)

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