Cheslahud Lake Union Trail named, building plans revealed
So, readers, do you remember back at the beginning of the year when I posted about how the Seattle Parks Department was running a contest to name the trail they’re building around Lake Union? Don’t feel bad if you don’t. Ironically, considering that naming a park has been a dream of mine for years now and this was about as close as I was likely to get, even though I’d entered the contest with a name about which I cared very much, I’d somehow forgotten all about the contest until I got a call yesterday from a City of Seattle employee asking me to come to a press conference today where the winning name would be announced.
Chodops (sometimes Chudups) John, also known as Lake Union John, also known as Cheslahud (spelled a variety of ways) was one of the very few Duwamish people who stayed in Seattle after most of them had been driven out of the city and relocated to the Port Madison reservation. “Lake Union John” and his family lived on Portage Bay and were good friends with the Denny family. He had a very colorful and interesting life. There’s a photo of him on Lake Union on display at the Museum of History and Industry–you can see the photo online here.
Seattle recognizes its history with names like “Blaine” and “Mercer” but I think it’s only fair that we recognize the history of the people who were here thousands of years before anyone in the Denny party was even born whenever we can, which is why I suggested naming the trail after Chudups John. I wasn’t the only one with this idea–in fact, all four “finalists” suggested the same thing. The only difference in the entries was the version of his name chosen.
Today Mayor Nickels announced that the new trail will be called Cheslahud. At a ceremony held on the side of the road on Westlake North, the Mayor also announced that the Parks Department will be completing the new trail in stages. This year they’re working on Westlake. When the trail is done it’ll be 6.6 miles long and connect over 30 different green spaces, including street end parks, Gas Works and the South Lake Union Park. One of the really cool things about the conference was that the great-great-great grandson and granddaughter of Cheslahud were there to represent their family and talk about their history.
I’m really looking forward to this trail; I think it’ll be an exciting and fun addition to our existing greenspace.