Explore the deep archives of Seattle waterfront history and you’ll find Piers 62 and 63 have changed names a number of times over the years.
Pier 62 was originally known as Pier 9 when it was constructed in 1901. Five years later, Pier 63 — then known as Pier 10 — was built next door. But those were just their original monikers. Pier 9 eventually became known as Gaffney Dock, while Pier 63 earned two names: Holden Dock and Virginia Dock.
Confused? Here’s a handy breakdown:
Pier 9 -> Gaffney Dock -> Pier 62
Pier 10 -> Holden Dock (or Virginia Dock, depending on who you asked) -> Pier 63
The names of the Piers weren’t the only thing to change in the decades since their construction. Originally privately owned, Pier 62 served as a dock for the Alaska Commercial Company (which still exists today). Pier 63, meanwhile, had Northwest Fisheries as a longtime tenant.
Fast-forward to 1989, when the City of Seattle exchanged Piers 62/63 with a private company for nearby Pier 57, which is now home to the Great Wheel. Both 62 and 63 were redesigned as public spaces —The Summer Nights at the Pier concert series was held there for years, and the Piers have long been a prime destination for squid jigging.
That’s right, squid jigging: Night fishing for squid via a rod and reel, a large floodlight, and a fish-like jig. Ripe with the shy critters, the water beneath Piers 62/63 showcases Seattle’s diversity on winter nights, where people from communities across the city bundle up and spend hours dipping their jigs in Elliott Bay.
This lively squidding scene — and other types of fishing — will continue after Pier 62 is rebuilt as part of the revamped Seattle waterfront, and the space will become a beautiful venue for live music and performances, sports and recreation (such as pop-up soccer matches and volleyball), food trucks for lunch and dinner, or just strolling and watching the sunset. Pier 62 will serve as a large canvas for Seattle’s eclectic arts scene, and a natural gathering spot for everyone in the city to enjoy.
Friends is raising $8M of the total $29M needed to rebuild Pier 62 with the city providing the rest. The new pier is scheduled to open by 2019, which means we won’t have to wait much longer for an improved canvas for every community in Seattle to enjoy.