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Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad Company is incorporated on April 15, 1885.

HistoryLink.org Essay 1735 : Printer-Friendly Format

On April 15, 1885, the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad Company is incorporated. This route, the present-day (1999) Burke-Gilman Trail, connects Seattle's tidewater to Sumas, Washington, on the Canadian border.

The local railroad company came together as a result of the vigorous efforts of Judge Thomas Burke and Daniel Hunt Gilman. The need for a connection to the Canadian border was great at this time, and Seattle had grown tired of waiting for the Northern Pacific to build a line through town.

The coming of the rails was foremost in the minds of Seattle's early developers, bankers, and businessmen. The list of Seattle citizens involved in the creation of this enterprise included many prominent community leaders:

  • Judge Thomas Burke (1849-1925)
  • William Cochrane
  • J. W. Currie
  • Griffith Davies
  • David Denny (1832-1903)
  • G. M. Haller
  • Daniel H. Gilman
  • George Kinnear
  • John Leary
  • J. R. McDonald
  • Thomas T. Minor
  • F. H. Osgood (1852-1934)


Clarence Bagley History of Seattle (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1916), 248-249.

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Related Topics: Roads & Rails | Infrastructure |

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Sound Transit

Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern locomotive, D. H. Gilman, ca. 1888
Courtesy MOHAI (Neg. SHS 1,143)

Judge Thomas Burke (1849-1925)
Courtesy MOHAI 1559

Tracks of the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern Railroad on Lake Sammamish, ca. 1891
Courtesy UW Special Collections (Neg. Boyd and Braas 47)

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