Events From The 1900s

Building a world-class city
In 1906, the Chamber formed a Lake Washington Canal Committee that promoted the concept of a canal from the Puget Sound to Lake Union and Lake Washington.

The canal had been a frequent topic since 1854, when Thomas Mercer had suggested that a canal could profitably link the Puget Sound with the freshwater basins. The Chamber had much involvement throughout, including successfully suggesting the route be changed from Smith's Cove to Shilshole Bay.

These efforts finally culminated on July 4, 1917, when the Lake Washington Ship Canal was dedicated.

Connecting our region
The Chamber helped raise money and plan for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (AYPE), the city's first world's fair.

The exposition was mandated by the legislature to display the resources, products, and advantages of Washington and the region. It was originally scheduled to open in 1907, recognizing the 10th anniversary of the Klondike Gold Rush. However, organizers delayed it two years to avoid a conflict with the 300th anniversary of Jamestown, Virginia.

Construction took nearly two years and transformed the heavily-forested University of Washington campus into a beautiful park with about 20 new buildings.

The fair's 138-day run extended from June 1 to October 16, 1909. More than 3 million visitors attended, and the fair closed with a $62,676 profit that organizers donated to the Anti-Tuberculosis League and the Seamen's Institute.

Click here for an AYPE slideshow on

Sources: The Chamber of Commerce in 1898; Highlights: 1882-1957;; Seattle: King County and its Queen City; Seattle: 150 Years of Progress; Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.

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