Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Some Interesting History On Laurelhurst's Yesler Swamp

The Friends of Yesler Swamp, located in Laurelhurst, has been publishing many interesting new posts on the history of Yesler Swamp, including historic photos, videos, source notes and more.

The website says:

Most people know that Henry Yesler once ran a mill in downtown Seattle at the foot of what we now call Yesler way. But what does Yesler Swamp have to do with the famous Seattle pioneer? Find out the answer to this and lots more.
Here is one of the excerpts from their Blog:


Union Bay in its natural state,” University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, UW 10003.
The Yesler Swamp story really begins over 15,000 years ago when the glaciers receded from the Northwest, leaving behind the great basin that is now Lake Washington. Union Bay was heavily forested with giant evergreens and thick underbrush. The earliest map and survey done in 1865 shows the shallow waters of Union Bay and the lake covering what is now Yesler Swamp.
One early observer reported the vegetation around the lake shore was “very luxuriant” and in some places “almost impenetrable”:
“The woods consist mostly of fir and cedar with a few deciduous trees. A dense undergrowth of brush grows almost every where [sic] unless the ground is worked every year. Amongst the brush may be found a large fern or braken [bracken] which fills nearly every available interstice. This braken grows to a height of eight or ten feet in many places and is often so dense as to make it very difficult to force a passage through it.”[4]
Yesler Creek flowed into Union Bay at Yesler Swamp. The creek ran through a marsh where Talaris now stands, then drained into the lake.[5] Although the lower reaches of Yesler Creek were later diverted, the low-lying channel where Yesler Creek once flowed can still be seen on the Talaris property and Yesler Creek is still shown on the map identifying Seattle’s streams and watersheds.

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