Denny Hill Regrade Walk - Atlas Obscura
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Seattle, Washington

Denny Hill Regrade Walk

Join noted Seattle author and geologist David B. Williams for a walking tour and talk focusing on the Denny Hill regrading project, and how the most famous regrade in Seattle’s history altered Seattle’s topography in ways that are still influencing the city today.

Within 50 years of the Denny party’s arrival in Seattle, the city undertook several massive projects which permanently changed the topography of the city. Between 1898 and 1930, Seattle completed perhaps the most audacious engineering change by eliminating Denny Hill at the north end of downtown. By the end of the project, Seattleites had washed and scraped more than 11-cubic-million yards of Denny Hill, reducing the previously 240-foot-high mound to a flat landscape.

During our two-mile walk, David B. Williams will discuss the full scope of this massive regrade project, point out often overlooked, but still existing evidence of the topographic changes, and explain how this reshaping of Seattle’s landscape continues to shape Seattle and those who call it home.

David B. Williams is a geologist, author, and educator whose most recent award-winning book Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography explores the unprecedented engineering projects that shaped Seattle during the early part of the 20th century. His work has also been published in Smithsonian, Popular Mechanics, and National Wildlife.

Adventure Notes:

Participants should meet on the southeast corner of 1st Avenue and Virginia Street, the corner with the Moore Theatre.

The tour is entirely outside and will run rain or shine and for approximately two hours from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

We will be walking approximately two miles, so please wear comfortable walking shoes.

Tour is family friendly but parents must keep an eye on their children.

This is a walking tour that will involve nearly two miles of walking, up and down hills, and is probably not best suited for individuals with mobility concerns.

Paid parking is available on Seattle streets and in paid Seattle lots. Participants are encouraged to arrive by public transportation.

No public restrooms are anticipated to be available during the walk.

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