A BRIEF HISTORY OF LIVERIES – Until the days of planes, trains & automobiles people could rent horses, horse-drawn carriages, and boats. The facilities were either barns or boat houses. The general term for renting these essential needs of transportation and recreation was liveries.
Seattle had boathouses in the late 1800s & early 1900s at Leschi, Madison, Rainer & Green Lake Parks. They rented rowboats, canoes, and sailboats at affordable prices. Boathouses were some of the most popular getaways in Seattle’s early years.
There were no historic liveries on Lake Union, but from 1870 to 1909 steam launches Latona and City of Latona were home-ported at the southwest corner of Lake Union and took passengers around the lake. In 1880, an electric-powered streetcar was installed along Westlake Avenue, running from South Lake Union to Fremont, which took most of the customers away from the launches. In 1917, the Hiram Chittenden Locks and Lake Washington Ship Canal were completed, and Lake Washington was lowered nine feet to match the level of Lake Union. The boathouses of Lake Washington were left literally high and dry.