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King County began to purchase, construct and maintain public wharves in 1900, primarily as dock facilities for its ferry service on Puget Sound and Lakes Union and Washington. Administrative oversight of wharves was a function of the county engineer's office from approximately 1924. With the rise of land-based transportation following World War II, the county increasingly worked to remove abandoned and unsafe wharves, or convert others to recreational purposes. These files constitute a record of county wharf and ferry facilities, as well as rock bunkers and sea bulkheads, primarily between the years 1906-1959. The files, originally a part of the county's bridge files, contain correspondence, petitions, copies of Commissioner resolutions; inspection reports; plans and specifications, cost estimates, shop drawings, field sketches, maps and plans; and photographs. Photographs (all black and white prints) can show many of the following images for each pier, ferry slip, or bunker: structure seen from various angles (shore and water, ground level, and elevated perspective); approaches (road or rail); ancillary structures (sheds, waiting rooms, retail businesses); adjacent terrain; adjacent residential and commercial structures; construction, maintenance, repairing or rebuilding of structure; and documentation of structure's deterioration. Negatives are present for a majority of prints. Dating of some images is very approximate. The county originally ordered wharf files by unique wharf numbers; current arrangement somewhat reflects this. Photographs, negatives and most maps and plans have been separated from the bulk of text files.

Please contact the Archives with questions, or to schedule a viewing appointment.

93_1_0118 93_1_0019 93_1_0147
Kirkland Ferry Dock, 1936
(Photo ID: 93.1.0118)
Vashon Heights Wharf, 1912
(Photo ID: 93.1.0019)
Bellevue Wharf, 1908
(Photo ID: 93.1.0147)

93_1_0183 768_375_1_24 575NorthupWharfkids1
Fall City Rock Bunker, 1911
(Photo ID: 93.1.0183)
Lisabuela Dock, c. 1936
(Photo ID: 375-1-24)
Northup Dock, c. 1912-1916
(Photo ID: #575)

93_1_0039 487_36_13_42_a 595_36_14_28_d
Cove Wharf, 1909
(Photo ID: 93.1.0039)
Portage Wharf, c. 1905-1920
(Photo ID: #375-4-24)
Industrial School Wharf, c. 1912
(Photo ID: 595-36-14-28-d)

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