Guide to the Cedar River Watershed Maps
1891 -1970

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Seattle (Wash.). Water Dept.
Title: Cedar River Watershed Maps
Dates: 1891 -1970 ( inclusive )
Quantity: Approx. 300 maps
Collection Number: 8204-02
Summary: Over 300 maps dating from the 1890s to the 1970s depicting land acquisition of property in the City's Cedar River Watershed and pipelines.
Repository: Seattle Municipal Archives
Contact Information: Seattle Municipal Archives
Office of the City Clerk
City of Seattle
PO Box 94728
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-233-7807
Fax: 206-386-9025
Languages: Collection materials are in English 

Historical Note

The Water Department was created in 1910 from the former Department of Lighting and Water Works. It managed the water supply for the city and most of King County. In 1997 the Water Department was abolished, and its functions were absorbed by Seattle Public Utilities.

Efforts to use Cedar River as a source of water for the City of Seattle were initiated in the 1890s by City Engineer R H Thomson. Water from the Cedar River Watershed was first delivered in 1901. Water was diverted by a dam at Landsburg, and then was channeled into a newly-completed 28.57-mile pipeline. This pipeline carried water to the Volunteer Park and Lincoln reservoirs on Capitol Hill in Seattle, which were also built at the time. In 1909, a second pipeline was built, and a third in 1923.

In 1962, landowners signed the Cedar River Watershed Cooperative Agreement, which set up a process of land transfers that resulted in Seattle's complete ownership of its watershed lands. This led to further procedures for fire protection and public access control. In 1996, the USDA Forest Service ceded its watershed land to the City, which gave Seattle final and sole ownership of the entire watershed.

Content Description

Over 300 maps dating from the 1890s to the 1970s depicting land acquisition of property in the City's Cedar River Watershed and pipelines. Information on maps typically includes former owners, roads, railroads, vegetation, and topography. Most maps show one section of land. The maps are arranged by township and range; there are two index maps in the collection, Maps 1 and 2 in the Maps Database. Many maps are amended from a base map.

All maps are indexed in the Maps database and have digital images with their catalog entry. Items 176 and 177 are not listed in the database. They are lists of property acquisitions made by the City in Moncton and Cedar Falls from 1915 to 1917.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Records are open to the public.

Preferred Citation :  

[Item and date], Cedar River Watershed Maps, Record Series 8204-02. Box [number], Folder [number]. Seattle Municipal Archives.

Administrative Information

Detailed Description of the Collection

8204-02: Cedar River Watershed Maps
These maps can be viewed in the Seattle Municipal Archives Map Index by searching on "8204-02." Selecting "Cedar River Watershed Maps" from the "Limit Search To" drop-down menu will retrieve maps in this and other collections relating to the watershed.


This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Corporate Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.). Water Dept.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Cedar River Watershed (King County, Wash.)
  • Renton (Wash.)
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Tukwila (Wash.)
  • Subject Terms :
  • Acquisition of property--Washington (State)
  • Pipelines--Washington (State)
  • Railroads--Washington (State)
  • Rivers--Washington (State)
  • Water utilities--Washington (State)
  • Watersheds--Washington (State)
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Maps

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