Before the Highway 520 and Interstate 90 bridges, ferries transported people across Lake Washington.
According to a 1928 editorial in The Seattle Daily Times, written by Capt. H.E. Tompkins, the first ferry service started with the vessel King County of Kent. Its route linked Madison Park and Kirkland.
Excitement was high for the launch of the Leschi, the first car ferry on the lake. In 1913, The Times said thousands of people from Seattle and the Eastside were on hand for the Leschi’s maiden voyage.
“The steamship was ready for almost immediate service as she sped down the ways and gracefully floated on the waters of Lake Washington.”
It could accommodate 2,500 passengers and 50 cars according to the 1913 article.
Though the Mercer Island bridge opened in 1940, the Leschi would continue operating on the lake until 1950.
In 1968, the Leschi was sold to an Alaskan cannery, according to HistoryLink.org.
The ferry now is a rusted-out hulk, beached in Shotgun Cove, part of Alaska’s Prince William Sound.