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Summary for Roosevelt WAY / Parcel ID 5100400230 / Inv # SPU012

Historic Name: Maple Leaf Tank Common Name:
Style: Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Roosevelt
Built By: Year Built: 1949
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
The Seattle Water Department completed construction of this 1,000,000-gallon tank in 1949, which replaced two earlier tanks built on the site c.1915. Like the earlier tanks, the new tank was located near the northwest corner of the 60,000,000-gallon Maple Leaf Reservoir completed in 1910. The Maple Leaf Reservoir and the nearby 50,000,000-gallon Green Lake Reservoir and their pump stations were built as part of the Cedar River Water System No. 2, which also included a second pipeline from the Cedar River and the reservoirs and their appurtenances at Beacon Hill. Construction of the Cedar River water system had commenced in 1899 after Seattle residents voted in 1895 for the approval of bonds to finance the system. On January 10, 1901, water began flowing from the Cedar River into Seattle’s system carried by a newly completed 28.57-mile pipeline to the new Lincoln and Volunteer Park reservoirs. This new system had a capacity of 23.5 million gallons per day. Over the next ten years, the city’s population increased from 80,600 in 1900 to 237,194 in 1910, greatly increasing the demand for water all over the city. In 1908, construction began on a second pipeline and the reservoirs, which would be supplied by it. At Maple Leaf, the City acquired through purchase or condemnation the necessary lands for the reservoir site between 1906 and 1908. At the time, this site was located just within the northern limits of the city at 85th Street. On June 21, 1909, the second pipeline went into service, providing an additional 45 million-gallon per day capacity to meet the water needs of a fast-growing Seattle. Within a year, the Maple Leaf and Green Lake Reservoirs were completed with water supplied via water mains from the Volunteer Park Reservoir. With a capacity of 60,000,000 gallons, the intermediate service Maple Leaf reservoir served the north end of the city along with the low service Green Lake Reservoir. After the completion of the reservoirs, the Water Department planned to erect a standpipe at the Maple Leaf Reservoir site to improve gravity service to higher elevations. The standpipe would be supplied by a hydraulic pump, which would be installed at the Green Lake Reservoir. Water flowing downhill from the Maple Leaf Reservoir into the Green Lake Reservoir Pump Station would then be pumped back up to the standpipe at Maple Leaf. For some reason, the Water Department chose not to construct a standpipe but opted to construct two elevated tanks within the next decade. Maple Leaf No. 1 was a wood tank with a 50,000-gallon capacity, while Maple Leaf No. 2 was a steel tank with a 100,000-gallon capacity. By the late 1940s, these tanks proved inadequate to meet the growing demand for water service in the north end of the city. In the thirty years since the construction of the original tanks, the City’s population center had shifted further north, a trend, which would accelerate after extensive annexations north to 145th Street between 1950 and 1954. The construction of additional pipelines into the city also required more storage capacity. The new 1,000,000-gallon tank was the third elevated tank of the same size constructed by the Water Department in as many years. In 1946, SW Myrtle Street Tank No. 2 had been erected next to the 1919 Tank No. 1, while the 1947 Magnolia Bluff Tank had replaced the smaller 1911 tank on the site. With its distinctive paint scheme, the Maple Leaf Tank is a prominent visual landmark in the neighborhood and is significant for its association with the growth and development of Seattle’s water system.
Located beyond the northwest corner of the Maple Leaf Reservoir, this 1,000,000-gallon steel tank is supported by two rings of steel posts set at intervals around a large central supply pipe. Horizontal and diagonal braces connect the ten posts of the outer ring while only horizontal braces connect the ten posts of the inner ring. Additional horizontal braces connect the two rings. Two horizontal bands of riveted steel plates comprise the upper portion of the tank below a curved metal roof topped by a small cupola. Reached by an enclosed ladder on the south side, a fenced external walkway, which is supported by the outer ring of posts, encircles the base of the tank’s upper half. The curved underside the tank is constructed of smaller vertical sections of riveted steel plates, which terminate at a raised steel ring around the supply pipe in the center. Radiating steel beams within this ring reinforce the tank and create supports for the inner ring of posts. Painted with a distinctive maple leaf pattern, this steel tank has been a prominent feature in the local neighborhood as well as the northern end of the city since its construction in 1949.

Detail for Roosevelt WAY / Parcel ID 5100400230 / Inv # SPU012

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Structure District Status:
Cladding(s): Metal Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Other Roof Material(s): Metal
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Waterworks Plan: Other
Structural System: Steel No. of Stories:
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Science & Engineering
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
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 Roosevelt WAY / Parcel ID 5100400230 / Inv # SPU012

Photo taken Aug 14, 2000
App v2.0.1.0