Green Lake is a freshwater lake in north central Seattle, Washington, USA, within Green Lake Park. The park is surrounded by the Green Lake neighborhood to the north and east, the Wallingford neighborhood to the south, the Phinney Ridge neighborhood to the west, and Woodland Park to the southwest. It is a glacial lake, its basin having been dug 50,000 years ago by the Vashon glacier, which also created Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Bitter and Haller Lakes. History
Green Lake was named by David Phillips, who surveyed the area in September 1855 for the United States Surveyor General. His first notes referred to it as “Lake Green” because even in its natural state the lake is prone to algae blooms.
The lake has a surface area of 1 km², a mean depth of 3.8 meters, and a maximum depth of 9.1 meters. The lake has been dredged in order to maintain its depth. Green Lake lacks both surface water inflows and outflows. It once drained into Lake Washington via Ravenna Creek, but in 1911 the water level was lowered by 2.1 meters (7 feet) to create parkland, causing the creek to dry up between Green Lake and Cowen Park. The lake is fed by rainfall, storm runoff, and Seattle’s municipal water supply.
The area was originally homesteaded by various pioneers, the first being Erhart Sarfried, “Green Lake John.” Sarfried subdivided his homestead in 1888 and sold the land to various entrepreneurs. W.D. Wood built an “amusement park” on the west side of the lake (which never amounted to more than a glorified lawn for picnics). On the east side of the lake, A.L. Parker logged the woods and built a sawmill. Edward C. Kilbourne built the first trolley line connecting the area to the city, the route of which is now Green Lake Way North. The trolley lines kept growing, until by 1910 they extended completely around the lake and a round trip could be made on a separate line going back to the city.
The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks located in Ballard provide a link for boats between the saltwater of the Puget Sound and the fresh water of the Ship Canal connecting to Lake Union and Lake Washington. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, often called the Ballard Locks, link salty Puget Sound with the fresh waters of Salmon Bay, Lake Union, Portage Bay and Lake Washington.
Both tourists and locals enjoy watching the parade of sailboats, motorboats, tugs, barges and yachts passing through. Pass a sunny day watching boats of all shapes and sizes come into the locks, and the water level is adjusted to allow their safe passage to the lake or sound.
Stop by the fish ladder, built to allow salmon to pass between fresh and salt water. Glass panels make it possible to view the fish as they navigate their way through the ladder, adjusting to different levels of salt each step of the way. Occasionally, a clever sea lion will hang out, waiting for his next meal. For the historically-minded among you, the locks’ official name is, “Hiram M. Chittenden Locks,” and was built in 1911 so that coal and timber could be easily transported by boat.
Seattle‘s “Hidden Treasure”
By LYNN STEINBERG
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
The beauty of Greenwood is in its contrasts. It’s a kind of old-fangled neighborhood with a trendy edge, a place where coffee shops mix with espresso bars, where young families live among senior citizens.
In Greenwood, it is still possible to buy a little bungalow on a quiet street without breaking the bank, or open a small business with little more than a dream and watch it thrive in the shadow of chains and superstores.
This is a community that comes together for block parties and tree plantings, for holiday caroling and Seafair parades, a neighborhood that is redefining itself as a destination for arts and antique hounds who patronize the growing number of shops, galleries and cafes along the main drags.
The local Chamber of Commerce is not far off in dubbing Greenwood “Seattle’s hidden treasure.” It sits just north of Phinney Ridge and the Woodland Park Zoo, and though it has its own flavor and identity, Greenwood’s commercial district overlaps Phinney’s and the two communities do much of their neighborhood planning together.
The intersection of North 85th Street and Greenwood Avenue is the heart of the neighborhood, the place where banners are strung to highlight special events, such as the Greenwood/Phinney Art Walk in May, or the Greenwood Classic Car & Rod Show in June.
Many of the brick storefronts look as they did in the 1920s. They are occupied by an eclectic mix of merchants, selling everything from antiques and collectibles to comic books and clothes. The upper floors frequently are leased out as apartments.
Most everything is within walking distance, and there is easy access to Metro. There is a city library near the center of town, a post office, even a mini city hall. ”Hey, how many neighborhoods have their own city hall?” asks community organizer Patty Fong. “It makes you feel like you’re somebody.”
Greenwood Elementary School, long a fixture in the community, lies a few blocks west of the commercial district, at the corner of Northwest 80th and Third Avenue Northwest. It is a stately brick building, graced by broad oak trees and ivy, that dates to 1905 and still attracts grateful students from bygone days.
The school, which has about 300 students, continues to enjoy widespread support from the community, with local seniors coming daily to read to kindergarten students and parents teaming up with teachers to help in the classroom. Each spring, neighbors empty their basements for a schoolwide rummage sale.
Greenwood’s proximity to downtown Seattle (about 15 minutes by car), to Green Lake (a short bicycle ride), to supermarkets (it has two) and a variety of restaurants (Japanese, Italian, Thai, Mexican, Indian, Greek and Chinese) contributes to its growing popularity.
An interesting mix of architecture can be found here — from brick ramblers and old Tudors to 1950s-style split-levels and small frame bungalows. They have pretty gardens and window boxes brimming with colors of the season: purple and pink petunias, cherry red geraniums, royal blue lobelia and bright yellow pansies.