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On this day in 1949: The path of Green Lake was split during a major earthquake

On this day in 1949: The path of Green Lake was split during a major earthquake


Seattle Times. April 13, 1949.

While researching my book, I came across this photo from April 13, 1949 showing large cracks in the path of Green Lake. The epicenter of the 7.1-magnitude earthquake was between Tacoma and Olympia, but it caused significant damage in remote areas of Oregon and British Columbia. Eight people were killed and many more injured when old buildings or structures collapsed on unstable soil, according to HistoryLink.

The park around the green lake, which was largely the result of human engineering in the early 20th century, has been damaged, especially near the southwestern part of the lake. The photo above is likely somewhere north of the Aqua Theatre. In 1913, the city lowered the lake’s level, then used mobilization to create new park land around the now smaller lake:

January 1914, photograph by Frank H. Noel, Seattle Public Library collection.

The view of the park included an entire street around the lake, although the western edge of this street was later destroyed by the expansion of the Aurora.

1910 Olmsted Brothers plan for Green Lake Street.

I don’t have a concrete point to make in this post other than to say, “Look at these unruly old photos!” And, “Wow, we’ve definitely rearranged a lot of land in this city!” Also, “Make sure you’re prepared for an earthquake!”

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