Tukwila: A River Runs Through It

Helen J. Wilson

For over 150 years, Tukwila has come of age around three themes: History, Transportation, and the Duwamish River. A panorama of the community’s past can be seen from the Interurban/Green River Bicycle Trail, which hugs the banks of the river as it loops and curves 13 miles through the heart of the city. Wayside markers, art installations, and parks commemorate successive waves of human arrival, and how they traveled through the landscape. In anticipation of its centennial in 2008, a historian was commissioned to record the city’s past for publication. On the trail with the book in hand, scene after scene comes alive with tribal legend, and stories of the early pioneers. As the inhabitants went from canoeing on the river to flying through on the interstate, different kinds of transportation modes have come and gone, leaving layers of artifacts to mark their passing. Tukwila has expended great effort to give voice to the myriad cultures that have influenced its landscape. As can be seen from the trail, it has fearlessly blended nature and industry to create a phenomenon that is part museum, part wilderness, and part art gallery. Come see landscape urbanism and historic preservation at its finest.

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