Centennial reveals complicated legacy of Ballard locks' namesake
Originally aired: Wednesday, June 28, 2017
At an Independence Day celebration in Seattle on July 4, 1854, Thomas Mercer suggested giving the name "Lake Union" to the body of fresh water just north of what's now downtown. Native Americans had called it "small lake" (in their Lushootseedlanguage) for centuries.
It was an inspired - and aspirational - suggestion because Mercer (and others) correctly predicted that Lake Union would one day become part of a permanent water connection to move goods and people between Puget Sound and Lake Washington.