Around our house the first weekend in August is our All-Star weekend, the annual game seven of our World Series. On Sunday, no plans are made, the big screen is turned on and turned up and only one program is on. The Hydros.
UL-Class Racing on Green Lake ca 1975
These were the monster trucks and sports heroes of my childhood. With a bit of board, maybe a few nails, and a yard or two of twine we had a Thunderboat trailing behind our bike. Spike nails on the back edge and we had a roostertail made of sparks.
Growing up in the north end of Seattle I could hear the growl of the engines from Green Lake, three miles away. Often-times friends and I would walk down to the lake to watch, or we’d cage a ride from one of our parents.
Green Lake is a natural race course; roundish, Duck Island in the middle, and ringed by nice open areas to spread your blanket and watch the rooster-tails go by.
On July 20, 1929, at a time when water sports are becoming the fastest growing sport in the country, the hydroplane craze hits Green Lake. For the next half century, hydroplanes hurl their roostertails around the lake.
The Green Lake area has always been a nightmare to drive around, and it’s a considerably deeper level of hell if you want to actually park.
Unfortunately, that attendant traffic, parking, and noise, didn’t sit well with the Green Lake neighborhood folks and with the death of a baby Snow Leopard at nearby Woodland Park Zoo attributed to the engine noise, the hydroplanes were banned from the lake in 1984.
But the big boats, the U-boats, they were on Lake Washington.
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