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Summary for 8800 8TH AVE / Parcel ID 7972603535 / Inv # 0

Historic Name: West Seattle Reservoir Common Name:
Style: Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Westwood/Highland Park
Built By: Year Built: 1932
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 this 68,000,000-gallon reservoir in 1932. This intermediate service reservoir was the first to be constructed in West Seattle and is the largest in the entire system. As early as 1916, the Water Department had recognized the need for two reservoirs in West Seattle and had acquired a large tract of land in the vicinity of SW Cloverdale Street and 8th Avenue SW for the purpose of constructing one of them. At the time, six wooden tanks at 40th Avenue SW and SW Charleston Street served the entire West Seattle area with a combined capacity of 300,000 gallons. Within a few years, the construction of three more wooden tanks at SW Charleston Street and a new steel tank at 36th Avenue SW and SW Myrtle Street increased West Seattle’s capacity to almost a 1,000,000 gallons. By the early 1920s, it was apparent that West Seattle had the poorest and most unreliable water supply of any portion of the city more than ten years after its 1907 annexation. The Water Department began a program of improvement in order to give West Seattle an adequate and reliable supply of Cedar River water. This included a tunnel under the West Waterway near Michigan Street, new steel water mains, two new standpipes for low and intermediate service, and a new pump station at 6th Avenue SW and SW Kenyon Street. After the completion of the above improvements, the Water Department decided to proceed with the construction of its long-planned West Seattle reservoir. In 1929, plans were prepared for an 80,000,000-gallon reservoir at 8th Avenue SW and SW Trenton Street and a large pipeline to connect it to the city’s main supply pipelines in the vicinity of 51st Avenue South and South Leo Street. With the new reservoir, most of West Seattle would be supplied by gravity service as opposed to the previous system, which relied on the pumping of water to the few tanks and standpipes scattered through the large area. By the time of construction, the Water Department had decided to reduce the size of the planned reservoir and construct two standpipes on an adjoining parcel down the hill to the east, each with more than a million gallons of capacity. The reservoir was largely completed by 1931 and put into service the following year. Water from the reservoir also powers the hydraulic pumps of the 1934 SW Trenton Street Pump Station, which pump water to the SW Myrtle Street tanks and the SW Charleston Street Standpipe. In the mid-1950s, an unused parcel at the southwest corner became the site of the Seattle Engineering Department’s West Seattle Shops. The Water Department retained ownership of the remaining undeveloped land on the site consisting primarily of woods until 1972 when it became Westcrest Park. The West Seattle Reservoir is significant for its association with the growth and development of the Seattle water system.
Completed in 1932, this large 68,000,000-gallon reservoir occupies a grassy fenced site roughly bounded by 5th and 8th Avenues SW and by SW Cloverdale and SW Henderson Streets. Westcrest Park borders the southern and eastern sides of the reservoir site and occupies land originally owned by the Seattle Water Department. The site lies at the edge of a ridge, which slopes steeply to the east, affording fabulous views of the Cascade Mountains. The original 1932 gate house is located at the edge of the fenced area off the southwest corner of the reservoir. Two newer buildings are located at the northwest corner of the site. A one-foot curb and a paved road surround the mostly rectangular reservoir, which features curved corners and gently sloped walls covered with a plastic liner. Stairs lead down into north and west sides of the reservoir. A high berm supports the reservoir on the east, west and north sides. Beyond the southern end of the reservoir, there is a viewpoint within Westcrest Park, which overlooks the reservoir and offers a view towards downtown Seattle to the north. Supplied with water from the Cedar River through the West Seattle Pipeline, this reservoir, the largest in the city, serves water to several pressure zones in West Seattle through the use of nearby pump stations and standpipes. This reservoir was lined in 1995.

In 2007, the Landmarks Preservation Board reviewed a nomination for the West Seattle Reservoir and determined that it did not meet the standards for designation.  Seattle Public Utilities recently began construction on a new 30 million gallon concrete buried reservoir; construction will be complete by the end of 2010.  The Seattle Parks Department may develop the open space when Seattle Public Utilities work is complete.  

Detail for 8800 8TH AVE / Parcel ID 7972603535 / 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 Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
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 8800 8TH AVE / Parcel ID 7972603535 / Inv # 0

Photo taken Nov 13, 2000
App v2.0.1.0