E.W. Kenyon Lake Washington Shipyard photograph collection, 1944-1945  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Kenyon, E.W. Jr
E.W. Kenyon Lake Washington Shipyard photograph collection
1944-1945 (inclusive)
49 photographic prints (1 box) ; 8 x 10
Collection Number
Photographs of shipbuilding, workers, and ships at the Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, Washington
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Entire collection can be viewed on the Libraries’ Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials Curator required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Additional Reference Guides

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

The Lake Washington Shipyard began in the 1870s as a small boat landing in Houghton, WA on the eastern shore of Lake Washington. Owned by boatbuilder Frank Curtis, the boat landing benefitted from the prominent lumber industry and produced its first steamship, the Peerless , in 1901. It was then bought by Captains George Bartsch and Harry Tompkins, who later partnered with investor John Anderson and began a successful business manufacturing passenger steam ships under the name Anderson Steamboat Company. In 1923, the Anderson Shipyard was bought by Alaska Consolidated Canneries, Inc, which renamed the area as Lake Washington Shipyard (LWS) and utilized the area as a winter lay-up for fishing vessels. After the great depression, the shipyard struggled to compete with other maritime construction companies, but maintained its reputation as a formidable shipbuilding enterprise with a highly skilled workforce. It gained notoriety in 1935 as the shipyard that took the burned-out hull of the Peralta and built the famous streamlined ferry MV Kalakala , which later led to important contracts with fishery owners, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

With the onset of World War II in the early 1940s, the Lake Washington Shipyard entered into a partnership with the U.S. Navy and the Defense Plant Corporation, which was a federally funded agency that assisted in construction and expansion of private manufacturing industries. Over the course of the war, the LWS employed over 9,000 workers. Many of the workers were recruited based on their previous shipbuilding experience, but the LWS also had an efficient method of training thousands unskilled workers. The designs of the ships were strictly standardized, under intense supervision, and specific, simplified tasks were delegated to workers in an assembly-line fashion. The LWS also employed a sizable amount of women and African-Americans, both of which experienced some resistance and at times harassment from the predominantly white male workforce. Many of the men had shipbuilding experience and were often assigned to heavy work as painters or scalers. Women were typically employed with clerical work, but many worked alongside men as sheet metal workers or welders. The substantial population of shipyard workers read and were often featured in the LWS’s weekly newspaper, On the Ways, which published news on current events in the war overseas and celebrated the importance of the role of the LWS workers in the overall war effort.

The LWS had a contract with the U.S. Navy for the construction of a variety of ship types. First of all, the LWS produced 25 seaplane tenders, 19 artillery lighters, four net tenders, and over five thousand tanks. It also provided prefabrication and repair services for destroyers and destroyer tenders. The most extensive and substantial shipbuilding at the LWS involved the construction of the seaplane tenders. A seaplane tender is a ship that has facilities to carry and operate seaplanes. First appearing in World War I, seaplane tenders were typically converted destroyers or merchant vessels equipped with a crane capable of lowering a seaplane from the deck onto the sea. During World War II, shipyards like the LWS began building seaplane tenders from a standardized design. The seaplane tenders built by the LWS were extensively used in the Pacific theater for reconnaissance, patrols and rescue missions. There are five seaplane tenders that appear in this collection, each possesses a service record in the Pacific in World War II: the USS Shelikof , USS Barataria , USS Suisun , USS Castle Rock and USS Floyds Bay . After the war, seaplane tenders were commonly acquired and commissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard. Some seaplane tenders were commissioned for Foreign Service, such as the USS Castle Rock that served as a patrol vessel in the South Vietnamese Navy during the Vietnam War and later as a frigate in the Philippines Navy.

The shipyard proved to be an advantage for the Houghton economy during the war. However, the LWS had expanded at an intense rate and was unable to compete and sustain itself when the war ended. It was sold on December 31, 1947 following the dissolution of the LWS board of trustees. The Alaska Terminal and Stevedoring Company of Seattle, owned by G.W. Skinner, purchased the shipyard for about $100,000 for use as a storage area and winter tie-up moorage. In 1976, it was leased by the Seattle Seahawks football franchise for team offices and practice fields. In 1986, the lease ended and the Skinner Corporation began developing the area into a district known as The Shipyard with office buildings, a public marina, hotels, condominiums, restaurants, and retail shops.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Photographs of the Lake Washington Shipyards during the last two years of World War II. Images include the Lake Washington Shipyard docks, shipyard workers, ships in the harbor, ship interiors, scenes of Houghton, Washington, and U.S. Navy sailors, engineers, and officers. Most of the images are of workers and scenes of Houghton, WA, which indicate that they were photographed by the Lake Washington Shipyard’s official photographer, E.W. Kenyon Jr. Additionally, these photographs may have been used in the Lake Washington Shipyard’s weekly newspaper, On The Ways .

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Lake Washington Shipyard WorkersReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/1 1 April 21, 1944
1/1 2 June 28, 1944
1/1 3
 Woman viewing bow of tugboat sitting on ship deck, Houghton, WA
E.W Kenyon Jr., Seattle, WA (Photographer)
June 30, 1944
1/1 4 June 30, 1944
1/1 5 January 25, 1945

Lake Washington ShipyardsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
2/1 6 May 27, 1944
2/1 7 May 27, 1944
2/1 8 May 27, 1944
2/1 9 September 3, 1944
2/1 10
 View of Lake Washington Shipyard docks, with USS Charleston docked on the right and LST transport docked on left, Houghton, WA
E.W Kenyon Jr., Seattle, WA (Photographer)
The USS Charleston was a patrol gunboat that operated as a convoy escort on the northern North American coastline during World War II.An LST, or Landing Ship, Tank was a type of amphibious naval vessel that transported vehicles, cargo and troops directly onto the shore.
April 9, 1945
3/1 11 April 9, 1945
3/1 12 April 9, 1945
3/1 13-14 circa 1940s
3/1 15 circa 1940s
3/1 16 circa 1940s

Group photos of U.S Navy sailors, engineers, and officersReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
6/1 25-26 April 6, 1945
6/1 27 April 7, 1945
6/1 28
  Lieutenant and four sailors in engine room, Houghton, WA
E.W Kenyon Jr., Seattle, WA (Photographer)
April 7, 1945
6/1 29
 Sailors and lieutenant in an engine room, Houghton, WA
E.W Kenyon Jr., Seattle, WA (Photographer)
April 7, 1945
6/1 30 April 7, 1945
6/1 31 April 7, 1945
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
7/1 32
 Formal gathering at the starboard broadside of the AVP-52 USS Shelikof (Seaplane Tender), Houghton, WA
Caption on front lower left corner reads: “AVP-52, Broadside-Starboard, Lake Washington Shipyards, Houghton, Washington”There is a US Navy Lieutenant Commander standing in center of crowd in this photograph. This is possibly the commissioning ceremony for Lieutenant Commander R.E. Stanley, which took place on April 17 1944.Water damage to photograph.
7/1 33 April 26, 1944
7/1 34 April 26, 1944
7/1 35 April 26, 1944
7/1 36 August 21, 1944
7/1 37 August 21, 1944
8/1 38 September 17, 1944
8/1 39 September 17, 1944
8/1 40 September 17, 1944
8/1 41 September 17, 1944
9/1 42 March 11, 1944
9/1 43 March 11, 1944
9/1 44 October 6, 1944
9/1 45 October 6, 1944
9/1 46 October 6, 1944
9/1 47 October 6, 1944
9/1 48 October 6, 1944

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Personal Names :
  • Kenyon, E. W. Jr.--Photographs (photographer)