The Water Department was created in 1910 from the former Department of Lighting and Water Works. It managed the water supply for the city and most of King County. In 1997 the Water Department was abolished, and its functions were absorbed by Seattle Public Utilities.
Efforts to use Cedar River as a source of water for the City of Seattle were initiated in the 1890s by City Engineer R H Thomson. Water from the Cedar River Watershed was first delivered in 1901. Water was diverted by a dam at Landsburg, and then was channeled into a newly-completed 28.57-mile pipeline. This pipeline carried water to the Volunteer Park and Lincoln reservoirs on Capitol Hill in Seattle, which were also built at the time. In 1909, a second pipeline was built, and a third in 1923.
In response to increased needs by a growing city, the Tolt River was explored as a source of water in the 1950s and the south fork of the Tolt began providing a new source of water supply to north Seattle and the east side beginning in 1964.
In 1962, landowners signed the Cedar River Watershed Cooperative Agreement, which set up a process of land transfers that resulted in Seattle's complete ownership of its watershed lands. This led to further procedures for fire protection and public access control. In 1996, the USDA Forest Service ceded its watershed land to the City, which gave Seattle final and sole ownership of the entire watershed.
These aerial photographs are primarily of the Cedar River and Tolt Watersheds and pipeline, including routes through Seattle, Renton, and Tukwila. Dates included are: 1930, 1970, 1985, and 1989. Index maps are included. The aerials are in order by flight line, roll number, and photograph numbers.
Some photographs are available in the online photograph database; search 8204-03.
[Title of image, date. Item number.] Seattle Watershed and Pipeline Aerial Photographs, Record Series 8204-03, Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.
Aerial photographs of Cedar River Watershed and pipeline right-of-way. Completed in October, 1930 by Fairchild Aerial Survey. Includes 274 prints, 7.5 x 9.25; Scale 1=1500; 1 index map.
Aerial photographs of Cedar River Watershed and pipeline route (including Seattle, Renton, Tukwila). Includes appoximately 75 prints, 16x 20; scale 1-400. Index map DNR KP-70. Rolls 3-10.
Aerial photographs of Cedar River Watershed and pipeline route (including Seattle, Renton, Tukwila). Includes appoximately 75 prints, 16x 20; scale 1-400. Index map DNR KP-70. Rolls 11-35.
Aerials of Cedar River Watershed taken in 1978. On microfiche. Aerial photographs of Cedar River and Tolt River watersheds. Approximately 250 prints; 9x9"; scale 1:12000; 6 index maps, DNR SP-85.
Aerial photographs of Seattle pipeline route and Cedar River Watershed. Approximately 250 prints, 9x9"; scale 1:1200; 6 index maps, DNR SP-89.