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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Seattle in King County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

Bell Street Bridge

Where did the old Bell Street Bridge go?

 
 
Bell Street Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, July 27, 2015
1. Bell Street Bridge Marker
Inscription. The original Bell Street Bridge was a wooden trestle built in 1915 to provide access to Pier 66 from Elliott Avenue and the hillside above.

In the early 1900s, trestle bridges connected many of Seattle's piers on the central waterfront with the top of the bluff, offering an easy way to negotiate the steep hillside between the two. In the early days, access to the piers along what is now Alaskan Way was difficult, because of the number of railroads in the area and the tremendous waterfront congestion. Bridging over this mess improved access to the piers.

The 1915 Bell Street Bridge was replaced in 1931 with a concrete bridge. Not only did this new bridge give access to Pier 66, but a ramp system in front of the building allowed vehicle access to Alaskan Way as well. A remodel of the Pier 66 building eliminated the need for the bridge and ramp, and they were removed in the early 1980s.

The bridge you see before you was built in 1995 to offer pedestrian access between the hillside and the waterfront, as part of the Port of Seattle's Bell Street Pier redevelopment. On of the Port's major goals in undertaking the Bell Street Pier project was to link the waterfront with the city behind it - in this case the Denny Regrade neighborhood and the Pike Place Market. The Bell Street Bridge fulfills this goal.
 
Location.
Bell Street Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, July 27, 2015
2. Bell Street Bridge Marker
47° 36.71′ N, 122° 20.904′ W. Marker is in Seattle, Washington, in King County. Marker can be reached from Alaska Way near Elliott Avenue. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Seattle WA 98121, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bell Street Terminal, Pier 66 (within shouting distance of this marker); Why Are the Piers Angled? (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); “Great White Fleet” (approx. 0.2 miles away); Speakeasy Café (approx. 0.2 miles away); Crystal Pool (approx. ¼ mile away); Welcome to The Public Market (approx. ¼ mile away); Fire Bell No. 4 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Waterfront History (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Seattle.
 
Also see . . .  Seattle Now & Then: The Bell Street Overpass. ...The Bell Street overpass was completed in 1915 soon after the young Port of Seattle’s big Bell Street Terminal opened. The Port was proud of its grand new pier and the bridge helped to safely show it off. Here was an easy way for produce sellers to move between the Pike Place Market and the Port’s dock with the cold storage it offered. And the bridge – its sidewalk – encouraged families shopping nearby at the Pike market to also visit the recreation park the Port built on
Bell Street Bridge Marker II image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, July 27, 2015
3. Bell Street Bridge Marker II
Where does the new Bell Street Bridge go? If you cross this bridge, you'll find yourself on the rooftop plaza of the Bell Street Pier. Open during daylight hours, the plaza offers spectacular and unique views of downtown Seattle, Elliott Bay, West Seattle, Mount Rainier, and the Olympic Mountains - and the maritime activities on the pier below. Telescopes and benches are provided, along with interpretive displays related to the distant views and the activities on the pier apron. The original Pier 66 building also had a rooftop that was open to the public. Working with the Seattle Park Commission, the Port Commission provided a solarium, a small pool, and an area for children to play while their mothers crossed the bridge to shop in the Pike Place Market. According to various sources,the rooftop park was closed in the 1920s because it was being used more by sailors and their dates than by mothers and their children. The current bridge provides access to all the facilities on Bell Street Pier. The stairway and elevator will take you to ground level and Alaskan Way, which leads to other attractions on the central waterfront.
the roof of the Bell Street pier.
(Submitted on July 30, 2015.) 
 
Categories. Bridges & Viaducts
 
View of Seattle from the Bell Street Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, July 27, 2015
4. View of Seattle from the Bell Street Bridge
View of the waterfront from Bay Street Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Marsha A. Matson, July 27, 2015
5. View of the waterfront from Bay Street Bridge
<i>Bell Street Wharf, Municipal Pier, Seattle.</i> image. Click for full size.
Postcard by Puget Sound News Company, circa 1925
6. Bell Street Wharf, Municipal Pier, Seattle.
The bridge is on the right. This shot was taken at roughly the same place as the photo on the marker.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida. This page has been viewed 160 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Marsha A. Matson of Palmetto Bay, Florida.   6. submitted on . • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on November 15, 2016.
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