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.


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


More in News

Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and Page Carson Foster. Photo credit Washington State Legislative Support Services
Carson Foster serves as page in Washington State House

The following was submitted to the Reporter: Carson Foster, a student at… Continue reading

Jim Pitts stands on walkway overlooking filtration chambers at the King County South Treatment Plant in Renton. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Human waste: Unlikely climate change hero?

King County treatment plant joins effort to counteract effects of carbon dioxide.

Washington State Capitol Building. Photo by Emma Epperly/WNPA Olympia News Bureau
Legislation targets rape kit backlog

WA has about 10,000 untested kits; new law would reduce testing time to 45 days

File photo
Law enforcement oversight office seeks subpoena power

Organization has been unable to investigate King County Sheriff’s Office.

The 2015 Wolverine Fire in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest near Lake Chelan. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Natural Resources/Kari Greer
Western Washington faces elevated wildfire risk in 2019

Humans cause majority of fires in state

Courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County approves bargaining agreement with 60 unions

Employees will receive wage increases and $500 bonus.

Call for peace, unity, understanding

City, county and state leaders show support of Islam community in wake of massacre at New Zealand mosques

King County bail reform hinges on pretrial decision making

Data on inmates has shown that being held pretrial affects the likelihood of conviction.

State smoking age rising to 21 in 2020

Legislature approves change

A man addresses the King County Council during a public hearing March 20 at New Life Church in Renton. He presented bags filled with what he said was hazardous materials dropped on his property by bald eagles. Another speaker made similar claims. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Locals show support for King County waste to energy plant

Public hearing on landfill’s future was held March 20 in Renton.

Defense Distributed’s 3D printed gun, The Liberator. Photo by Vvzvlad/Wikimedia Commons
‘Ghost gun’ bill moves to Senate committees

Legislation would make 3-D printed guns illegal.

King County Council with Sarah Reyneveld, chair of the King County Women’s Advisory Board. Photo courtesy of King County
King County proclaims March as Women’s History Month

This year’s theme is Womxn Who Lead: Stories from the past and how they influence the future.