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100 years ago today, Boeing founded on this forgotten corner of Lake Union

Craig Dupler, retired Boeing engineer
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols
Craig Dupler, retired Boeing engineer

100 years ago Friday, Bill Boeing incorporated his airplane company. It would later be known as the Boeing Airplane Company and Washington's largest private employer. KUOW made a visit to the place where it all started.


To mark the historic day, there's a new plaque in Seattle's Roanoke Street Mini Park in the Eastlake neighborhood. It's also the site where Bill Boeing's first plane took flight. Craig Dupler worked for Boeing for 31 years. He says he's glad that the plaque will tell everyone about the site's special place in history.

Dupler: "People would walk by here and nobody even had a clue. This was a really run down corner of the lake for many years. In fact when they finally tore down the boathouse about 35, 40 year ago, there was people who wanted to save it but no one was interested. So they just let it fall into the lake, literally."  

That boathouse was the very first assembly site for Bill Boeing's first plane. Boeing now employs more than 80,000 people in Washington. A series of events are scheduled to mark the company's centennial.

Related: Changing the Sound: A KUOW special that traces Seattle's growth from Boeing, to Grunge and biotech

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