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The Stimson Mill

In the 1880s, lumberman T. D. Stimson decided to move the family business from the Midwest and purchased timberland in Oregon and Washington. The Stimson Mill Company was incorporated and began operating the Stimson Mill on Salmon Bay in 1890.

To become one of the largest sawmills in the region, the Stimson Mill employed modern equipment and was among the earliest in Seattle to use electric-powered machinery. By 1914, the Stimson Mill had 37 electric motors and was the “best lighted lumber- manufacturing establishment in the world.”

 

The drawing below shows the mill’s utilities. To the right is the foundation plan, with a red line indicating the locations of the seven- and nine-foot waterlines.

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Top left: Stimson Mill letterhead, 1915. Series 1200, City Lighting Department Records, Box 93 Folder 13, Seattle Municipal Archives. Top right: photograph of the Stimson Mill, 1915. Item 51925, Series 2613-07, Engineering Department Photographic Negatives, Seattle Municipal Archives. Above right: Stimson Mill foundation, 1915. Series 276, Salmon Bay Waterway Condemnation Survey No. 1255, King County. Below: Stimson Mill utilities, and Stimson Mill cross-section, 1915. Series 276, Salmon Bay Waterway Condemnation Survey No. 1255, King County Archives.

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The below cross-sectional drawing of the Stimson Mill details a steam engine with a nine-foot flywheel. The horizontal lines marked “Elev. 7” and “Elev. 9” show the difference between the first condemnation judgment and the actual level to which Salmon Bay would rise behind the Ballard locks.

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