Originally, the docks extended far from the shoreline, since the waterway was intertidal. When the Hiram Chittenden Locks opened in 1916, the salt water was replaced by fresh, a part of the Lake Washington drainage system.
In its heyday, the shingle manufacturing arm of the Stimson Mill was the largest in the world and was in operation night and day. The sawmill thrived until the 1950s when the readily available supply of large logs became so depleted that the mill would have had to completely retool for smaller, second-growth, logs.
Stimson Mill was dismantled and sold in parts in 1956. Office and warehouse buildings were constructed on the 11 acres of uplands now known as Salmon Bay Center.
Stimson Marina began operations in 1960. It was, and still is, the largest covered, fresh-water marina in Seattle. It is fully sprinklered—a rarity then and now—and the dock roofs are in a distinctive gull wing configuration, designed by Lamont & Fey to vent heat in the event of fire, and to accommodate the high bridges of newer boats.
Watercolor of the Stimson Mill in the early 1920s, seen from the Southwest.
View of the Stimson Mill from Ballard Avenue, published in The American Lumberman in 1899.