The lake was the easiest way to get to and from Seattle in the early days. Mosquito Fleet steam boats traveled the shores of Lake Washington all the way up the Sammamish River to Lake Sammamish.
By Rail, then By Trail
The Seattle, Lakeshore & Eastern Railway created another connection when it was built in 1888, along the route that is now known as the Burke Gilman Trail. The railroad platform was next to what would become the driveway for the Lake Forest Park Civic Club.
Commuting was made easier for budding car owners after the 1912 paving of the two-lane brick highway. Beginning as the nearly impassable Military Telegraph Road, the route had several other incarnations. In 1906 it was christened the Gehr Erickson Road, after the State Representative, a Bothell resident, who created the Good Roads legislation. Bothell Boulevard, Lake Forest Boulevard, Victory Way, and Pacific Highway were its other names, and finally Bothell Way and State Route 522. By 1913, the railroad platform had become a canopied waiting area attached to a small store with a gas pump. An early newspaper ad for Lake Forest Park touted a 30 minute drive to the city on paved roads.
There was also public transportation on Bothell Way. The Bothell Stage jitneys took riders from north end communities into town. To keep out the rain, passengers could tie flaps down to the sides of the vehicles. View the University of Washington's Collection of images from the Shoreline Historical Museum. Many of the images in this collection are of the Lake Forest Park and Shoreline areas.
Bothell Way remains a main thoroughfare, carrying more traffic than ever before. Tens of thousands of drivers pass alongside the City of Lake Forest Park every week, going to and from the towns and cities on the east side of Lake Washington back to Seattle on the west side. Few of them realize the care and effort that has gone into creating and preserving the community within the wooded hills above.