Within 50 years of the Denny party’s arrival in Seattle, the city undertook several massive projects which permanently changed the topography of the city. Between 1898 and 1930, Seattle completed perhaps the most audacious engineering change by eliminating Denny Hill at the north end of downtown. By the end of the project, Seattleites had washed and scraped more than 11 cubic million yards of Denny Hill, reducing the previously 240-foot-high mound to a flat landscape.
During our two-mile walk on July 18, David B. Williams — freelance writer and former NSWA president — discussed the full scope of this massive regrade project, pointing out often overlooked but still existing evidence of the topographic changes, and explained how this reshaping of the Seattle landscape continues to shape Seattle and those who call it home. After the walk, participants met at Virginia Inn Restaurant & Bar for more conversation.
David B. Williams is a geologist, author and educator whose award-winning book “Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography” explores the unprecedented engineering projects that shaped Seattle during the early part of the 20th century. His other books include “Seattle Walks: Discovering History and Nature in the City” and “Waterway: The story of Seattle’s Locks and Ship Canal” (to be published July 2017).