Ever-changed Duwamish still fulfills mighty role | Tukwila’s Story

The present-day Duwamish River has seen more than 160 years of changes to the land surrounding the wandering course through Tukwila and is still at the “Crossroads” of the past, present and future.

  • Monday, November 16, 2015 3:30pm
  • News

The bridge near Heppenstall’s store crossed over the Duwamish River at Foster Point.

By LOUISE JONES-BROWN

president, Tukwila Historical Society

The photograph featured this month is a view of the bridge built in 1939 to allow vehicle access to the area called Foster Point. This view was in danger of being erased within a couple of decades.

The first pioneer settlers, Luther Collins along with Jacob and Samuel Maple in 1851, established their land claims with access to the Duwamish River. The Duwamish people had been using it for thousands of years with villages and food sources located along the river banks. Industries began to change the river in the late 1800s and by 1909 plans were made to shorten the Duwamish’s original 13 1/2 miles to a mere 4 1/2 miles. Dredging the new waterway began in 1913 and with the lowering of Lake Washington at the same time, the Black River was totally erased from existence.

In the 1940s, the Port of Seattle revealed plans to straighten the remainder of the existing Duwamish all the way to the Renton Junction to establish a cargo terminal in the Valley. This project was met with a lawsuit filed by local landowners in the state Supreme Court as well as the site becoming the latest annexation by the City of Tukwila. Once the lawsuit was settled and the dredging was avoided, the plans were set for the new development which became known as Southcenter.

The present-day Duwamish River has seen more than 160 years of changes to the land surrounding the wandering course through Tukwila and is still at the “Crossroads” of the past, present and future.

Louise Jones-Brown is president of the Tukwila Historical Society. The society operates the Tukwila Heritage and Cultural Center, 14475 59th Ave. S., Tukwila. Reach the center by phone at 206-244-HIST (4478) or via email at tukwilaheritagectr@tukwilahistoryorg

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