Lake Union is a freshwater
lake entirely within the Seattle,
Washington city limits.
A glacial lake, its basin was dug 12,000 years ago by
the Vashon glacier, which also
Seattle's Green, Bitter, and Haller
received its present name from Thomas
Mercer, who in 1854 correctly predicted that canals would someday join Lake Washington to Puget Sound in a "union of waters."
called it "Small Lake" (Lushootseed
"small great-amount-of-water," the diminutive form of the word used
for Lake Washington).
began production on Lake Union in
1916. Shipyards, wharves, and sawmills have also dotted the
Lake Union's proximity to and scenic
views of Seattle make it a popular recreational spot. Seaplanes
operated by Kenmore Air
land on and take off from the lake
several times a day during the summer. Pleasure boats from
Washington pass through
on their way to Puget
The Center for Wooden Boats
yearly wooden boat
Gas Works Park is the largest park on Lake Union and the most
popular for Seattleites and visitors.
It is the venue for
summer concerts and Seattle's major Fourth of July fireworks
show. Other parks ring the lake, clockwise
around the compass from Gas Works which is nearly due north:
Point Park, South Passage Point Park, Fairview
Park, Terry Pettus
Park, and South Lake Union Park.
line the east and west
sides of Lake Union. In Sleepless in Seattle
character played by Tom Hanks
lived on one
of these homes.
Connections to other bodies of water
Washington Ship Canal system, water flows into the
lake from Lake
Washington through the
Cut, and out via the Fremont Cut on its way to Puget Sound. Before construction of the canal, Lake Union emptied into Salmon Bay via a creek which
followed roughly the same course as the Fremont Cut does
the connection via the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks to the salt water of Puget Sound, there is some saline contamination , which
increases in the summer as the inflow rate from Lake Washington
decreases and the locks open more frequently for pleasure
Lake Union Crew
Lake union is also home to a very prestigious rowing center, that
has won and competed in national level in USRowing
major streets are named in relation to the lake: Westlake Avenue,
which runs along its western shore from Downtown to the Fremont
Bridge; Eastlake Avenue, which runs along its eastern shore
from Cascade to the University District, and Northlake Way, which runs along its northern
shore from the University District past Gas Works Park to the edge of Fremont.
Several neighborhoods take their name from the lake: Eastlake
, and South Lake
The view of Downtown Seattle from Lake