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Seattle. From Space.

Over the past couple years, I’ve occasionally shared a series of #iwifeinhistory posts on Instagram.  I love getting down to the DNA of my favorite places, and it’s just fun to learn more about my hometown and stuff I take for granted.  This particular series was significant for me because the experience was intensely visceral: way up there in a teeny tiny helicopter, simultaneously fearing for my life and overcome with glee.  (I’ve been petrified of flying all my life) In hindsight, it was like riding the coolest most intense carnival ride of all time…

~ Seattle pioneer Thomas Mercer (1813-1898) was the first to point out the benefits of building a navigable passage between the fresh waters of Lake Washington and the saltwater of Puget Sound to the Pacific beyond.

~ At a village celebration on July 4, 1854, Mercer proposed the name Union for the lake lying between Salmon Bay on the west and Lake Washington on the east, in the full confidence that a canal would eventually connect these waters. Eighty years passed before this vision was fully realized. • The Lake Washington Ship Canal has connected Seattle’s largest freshwater lakes to the Puget Sound since the early 1900s. (You can just make out the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks below…)

~ Hiram M. Chittenden had command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Seattle in 1906, and worked tirelessly to ensure completion of the canal against financial and political odds. By the time the Lake Washington Ship Canal’s Government Locks opened in 1917, a stroke had confined Hiram Chittenden to a wheel chair. He died on October 9, 1917. Then, in 1956, the Corps of Engineers renamed the Ballard locks to honor his memory.” [historical narrative excerpts courtesy of]

As children, my parents brought us to the Locks regularly where we marveled at the fish ladder and watched for hours as the boats raised and lowered on their passage to and from the Sound. They instilled in me a deep admiration and respect for the many facets of our maritime heritage.  One of my favorite places to shoot is at Golden Gardens Park just south of the Shilshole Bay Marina which is pictured above)

I feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful city, surrounded by water…

Experiencing my city from above inspired a deeper appreciation for just how beautiful this place is that I call home.  While I was sorry the ride had to end, I practically kissed the ground when we landed.  ;)   Would I do it again?  Absolutely.
•• all images were shot by me in August 2012 using Hipstamatic: Wonder lens + W40 film ••


  1. An enjoyable photo-essay with a balanced mixture of factual and personal information. Thank you Rachel.

    • Thanks very much, Peter!