For Queen Anne, the Fremont Bridge is one of the most important consequences of the construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. We’ll celebrate the centennial of its opening next year on June 15. The Chicago bascule bridge replaced a wooden trestle on which street cars ran from downtown north on pilings and tracks along the shore of Lake Union, where Westlake has now been filled in.
These images from the Seattle Municipal Archives are intriguing and fun to explore. They raise a curious chauvinistic question about why this important connection from Queen Anne was called the Fremont Bridge. If the former town was much smaller than Queen Anne and had only been annexed to Seattle in 1891, why is its name and not ours on the bridge and the Fremont Cut as well? The names of the two other bridges that opened in time for the inauguration of the Ship Canal on July 4, 1917 could be a clue. Like our bridge, both the Ballard and the University bridges lead from the well populated parts of the city to the smaller and maybe less important ones on the north side of the bridge. The Montlake Bridge, the last of the bridges to be completed (1925) may undermine that theory. On the other hand, its permanent piers and abutments were finished in 1914 in time for the canal. Only further research will show if the bridge connected the two sides of Montlake or if the name migrated from one side to the other after that bridge opened.
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