Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

125 West Sunset Way

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, 125 W Sunset Way, August 25, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Watershed Science Center, Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, August 25, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Salmon sculpture, Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, August 25, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Vehicle and hatcheries, Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, August 25, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Staff feeding coho fry, Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, August 25, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Issaquah Creek, Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, August 25, 2019, HistoryLink photo by David Koch
Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, King County, Washington, ca. 1935, Courtesy UW Special Collections (UW21701z)

This site along Issaquah Creek was once part of a city park, and it was a popular venue for local events and large holiday celebrations during the 1920s. The hatchery was built in 1936 and 1937 as one of many public works projects carried out during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration. This was no “make work” project — even in the 1930s it was already recognized that logging, mining, and other activities in the Issaquah Basin were having an adverse impact on the salmon runs that had historically populated the river. The hatchery was built to help restore the runs, which were so depleted by this time that in the hatchery’s earliest years, its salmon stocks came from the Green River.

In the early 1990s the Department of Fish and Wildlife announced plans to close the hatchery. Public outcry stopped it from happening, and the hatchery subsequently underwent major renovations and upgrades later in the ’90s. In recent years it has hosted more than 300,000 visitors a year, offering various exhibits and displays designed to encourage audience participation. The hatchery raises chinook and coho salmon. Steelhead trout was raised for years but discontinued in the early 2000s.

The hatchery remains an important part of Issaquah’s history and identity. Issaquah’s Salmon Days, a family-oriented celebration held in downtown Issaquah every first weekend in October since 1970, is a reflection of this.

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