Denny Regrade, Seattle

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Denny Regrade

The Denny Regrade is a neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, USA, that stretches north of the central business district to the grounds of Seattle Center. Its generally flat terrain was originally a steep hill, taken down as part of a mammoth construction project in the first decades of the 20th century.[1] The neighborhood is named after that project, though in modern times the label is used almost interchangeably with Belltown, which is officially a subset of the Denny Regrade. It is also commonly referred to as the Denny Triangle due to its triangular shape.


Regrading projects

Idealized bird's-eye view of the area in 1917, between Denny Regrade No. 1 and Denny Regrade No. 2. The major street running roughly horizontally in foreground is Westlake Avenue. The major street headed into the distance at right is Denny Way. Fifth Avenue marked the line between Denny Regrade No. 1 and Denny Regrade No. 2.

The Denny Regrade project was the removal of Denny Hill, one of the proverbial seven hills of Seattle. It ran east from First Avenue between Pike Street and Denny Way. Hill and street were named after the Denny family, who were among the city's earliest white inhabitants. The First Avenue regrade was started in 1897 and completed on January 6, 1899. From 1902 to 1911, the hill was sluiced into Elliott Bay by pumping water from Lake Union using hydraulic mining techniques, in a series of regrades along Pike and Pine Streets, Second Avenue, and the massive Denny Regrade No. 1 which regraded everything remaining between Fifth Avenue and the waterfront. In 1929–30, Denny Regrade No. 2 removed the final pieces of the hill east of Fifth Avenue using steam shovels.

Denny Hill

The 1884 Denny School (depicted here in 1900) on Battery Street between Fifth & Sixth Avenues was demolished in 1928, one of many major buildings demolished as part of the regrade project.

Seattle is located on a narrow strip of land between Lake Washington on the east and Puget Sound on the west. The north-south orientation of the lake and of the city's many hills is the result of glaciation. The terrain was first gouged by south-moving glaciers, and when they retreated, was marked by mounds of rock debris left in their wake. Denny and Queen Anne Hills are two of those north of what is now downtown Seattle.


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Coordinates: 47°36′57.60″N 122°20′24″W / 47.616°N 122.34°W / 47.616; -122.34