Water Department Creek Photographs & Slides, 1987-1999

Overview of the Collection

Seattle (Wash.). Water Dept.
Water Department Creek Photographs & Slides
1987-1999 (inclusive)
2 cubic feet, (8 boxes)
Collection Number
Photographic documentation of Seattle's creeks, including activities undertaken by the Water Department to test and improve water quality.
Seattle Municipal Archives
Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2062337807
Fax: 2063869025
Access Restrictions

Records are open to the public.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

A public waterworks was created by City Charter Amendment in 1875. However, Seattle was served primarily by small private water companies for the next decade and a half. Following the Great Fire of 1889, citizens voted to fund creation of a municipally owned water system. The City purchased the private systems, and since 1891, has owned and operated a municipal water system. The City began developing the Cedar River Watershed and contracting with outside communities (such as Ballard and Renton) for the sale and provision of water to those communities. The system was administered by the Superintendent of Water under the auspices of the Board of Public Works. In 1905 the Department of Lighting and Water Works was created. Five years later, the Water Department became a separate entity. In 1952, development of the Tolt River as a secondary water source was recommended; this development took place in the 1960s. In 1997 the Water Department was consolidated with the utilities of the Engineering Department to form Seattle Public Utilities.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

During the 1990s, biologists at the Seattle Water Department undertook the photo-documentation of Seattle's Creeks. Represented in this collection of 10 binders are North Seattle Creeks such as Thornton Creek located in the Lake City neighborhood, and Venema and Piper's creeks located in Carkeek Park. South End and Central Seattle creeks such as Taylor, Fauntleroy, and Lowman's creeks are also represented. This collection is an in depth look at subjects concerning Seattle's numerous watersheds such as erosion, water quality, drainage, construction, the state of tributaries and detention ponds, dams, bridges, and culverts. Also, this collection offers a look at creek maintenance, slide damage, equipment, soil testing, and other activities undertaken by the utility department to keep Seattle's watershed functioning and serving the citizens of the city.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Title of image, date. Item number.] Seattle Water Department Creek Photographs and Slides , Record Series 2613-27. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection. These images form a discrete series within the larger institutional photograph collection. This inclusion in the latter is reflected by the first container of this series being number 250.

2613-27:  Seattle Water Department Creek Photographs and Slides, 1987-1999Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Creeks & Engineering Department & Water Quality
Longfellow, Thornton, Piper's, and Venema creeks, Lake Washington, fish, water monitoring, drainage, construction, erosion control, education.
South End & Central Creeks - Creeks & More
Fauntleroy, Lowman's, Puget Ridge, Schmitz, and Taylor creeks, 46th Ave SW culvert, Duwamish River, Me-Kwo-Mooks Park, South Seattle Community College, detention ponds, landslides, wetlands, erosion.
North Seattle Creeks: Piper's, Thornton, Ravenna
Piper's, Thornton, Ravenna, and Willow creeks, Meadowbrook Pond, Burlington Northern Railroad, Inverness Ravines, Lake City Way, Nathan Hale High School, Sand Point Golf Course, Shilshole.
Thornton Creek - Physical & Habitat Assessment
Thornton and Victory creeks, Lake City Way, Nathan Hale High School, Sand Point, bridges, culverts, erosion, sludge, erosion.
Drainage and Watershed Utility & Co.
Ashworth Pond, Duwamish River, West Seattle, 47th Street, asphalt & paving, dredging, erosion control, pumps, repairs, slide damage, soil testing, drainage, flow meters, maintenance.
Creeks: Trips, Tours, & Problems
Little Soos, Pigeon, and Thornton creeks, Cedar River, Everett, Kent, detention ponds, drainage, heavy equipment, pipes, salmon, wetlands.
Piper's Creek: Sediment Ponds, General Photos & Salmon Business
Piper's, Muhlendorf, and Venema creeks, Viewland School, caves, ponds, salmon, wetlands, backyards, erosion control.
Piper's Creek; Taylor Creek and Schmitz Park Creek; Longfellow Creek
Piper's, Taylor, Schmitz Park, and Longfellow creeks, bridges, erosion, detention ponds, debris, culverts.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Drainage--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Erosion--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Landslides--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Rivers--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Storm water retention basins--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Water quality--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Water utilities--Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Wetlands--Washington (State)--Seattle

Corporate Names

  • Seattle (Wash.). Water Dept.

Geographical Names

  • Seattle (Wash.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographs

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Seattle Public Utilities (creator)