For those interested in history and land use, 1936 is a memorable year. It marks the beginning of intensified mapping of King County, including the use of aerial photography. We don't need to wonder what Lake Sawyer was like back then, we can see it. King county now makes these digital images available to us online using their iMap tool. Following is an overview of Lake Sawyer as it was in 1936.
To the east, we can see the old Columbia & Puget Sound rail line that once served the coal mines of Black Diamond and Franklin - now a trail that many of enjoy often. Further to the east is the Maple Valley Highway, Ravensdale Black Diamond Road and Lake 12. 288th is at the top and the Lake Sawyer - Black Diamond road to the west. The two main tributaries into the lake are also clearly visible - Rock Creek and Ravensdale Creek. Notice how small and shallow Frog Pond (aka Frog Lake) was. This was also pre-dredging of the south end of the lake (now Lake Sawyer Park) and what is commonly referred to as The Boot to the northwest. Although the Lake Sawyer sawmill shuttered its doors just a few years before these aerial photos were taken, there are plenty of signs of the mill's legacy, including the log dump by the islands and cleared plant area to the northeast of the lake. One particularly striking note for me is how much clear cutting occurred. Following is a closer look at the south end of the lake.
As residents of the lake and Black Diamond, we are blessed that Lake Sawyer today remains such a great place.