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Summary for 14100 LINDEN AVE / Parcel ID 1926049009 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: Bitter Lake Reservoir Common Name:
Style: Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Broadview-Bitter Lake-Haller Lake
Built By: Year Built: 1958
The Seattle Water Department constructed this 21,500,000-gallon reservoir just inside the northern city limits in 1957-58. By the early 1950s, the City’s population center had shifted to the north, especially after extensive annexations north to 145th Street between 1950 and 1954. The Water Department already provided 60% of this newly annexed area with direct service to the retail customers. However, a new reservoir in the north end would be necessary in order to serve those without city water service and to anticipate future growth in residential and commercial customers. The Water Department was also developing plans for a new water source from the Tolt River, which would serve both northern suburbs and north Seattle, requiring additional storage capacity in the area. In 1954, the Water Department proceeded with the acquisition of the site for a distribution storage reservoir and pump station at Linden Avenue North and North 143rd Street. At this time, there were also plans to construct an elevated tank, which were not realized. Between 1910 and 1939, this stretch of Linden Avenue North had been the route of the Interurban Railway between Seattle and Everett. The reservoir site was also just north of Bitter Lake and Playland, a popular family amusement park, which operated from 1930 to 1961. Playland’s giant wooden "Dipper" was the largest roller coaster in Seattle at the time. The reservoir site was mostly vacant except for a large wood frame dance hall constructed about 1930, possibly in connection with the opening of Playland. By 1957, construction on the reservoir was largely completed except for the joint sealing operations and landscaping of the area. The following year, the reservoir and the pump station were put into service to serve the area south of North 143rd Street. The Bitter Lake Reservoir is significant for its association with the growth and development of the Seattle water system.
Completed in 1958, this 21,500,000-gallon reservoir is situated within a high berm, which slopes steeply on all sides. Enclosed by a chain link fence, this large grassy site is roughly bounded by Fremont Avenue North on the west, by Linden Avenue North on the east, by North 143rd Street on the north, and North 138th Street on the south. The one-story pump station is located outside the fenced area at the base of the slope along the site’s eastern side. A concrete wall surrounds the mostly rectangular reservoir, which features curved corners, gently sloped walls, and a flat bottom. A service road leads up the eastern slope of the berm and encircles the reservoir, which serves water supplied by the Tolt River Pipeline to the 499-foot elevation pressure zone. The service area is generally to northwest Seattle north of NW 83rd Street. In the 1990s the City began installing floating covers on some reservoirs, including the subject reservoir, however the City does not plan to install any more floating covers. 

Detail for 14100 LINDEN AVE / Parcel ID 1926049009 / Inv # 0

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Structure District Status:
Cladding(s): Concrete Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): None Roof Material(s): None
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Waterworks Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Concrete - Poured No. of Stories:
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Science & Engineering
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
HistoryLink Website (
McWilliams, Mary. Seattle Water Department History, 1854-1954: Operational Data and Memoranda. Seattle, WA: Water Department, City of Seattle, c1955.
Seattle Water Department. Annual report / City of Seattle, Water Department. Seattle, WA: 1908-1965.

Photo collection for 14100 LINDEN AVE / Parcel ID 1926049009 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Nov 01, 2000
App v2.0.1.0