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Seattle Parks and Recreation

Volunteer Park

 
Address: 1247 15th Ave E, 98112 (Map It)
Seattle Parks and Recreation Information:
(206) 684-4075 | Contact Us TTY Phone: (206) 233-1509

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PARK FEATURES
  • Historic Landmark
  • Restrooms
  • Tennis Court (Outdoor)
  • Tennis Backboard (Outdoor)
  • Tennis Lights
  • Paths
  • Wading Pool or Water Feature
  • Restrooms (ADA Compliant)
  • Play Area (ADA Compliant)

HOURS

6 a.m. - 10 p.m.

ABOUT THE PARK

Located in the heart of Seattle, Volunteer Park is home to the Volunteer Park Conservatory and the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

The Landmarks Preservation Board designated Volunteer Park as a Seattle Landmark on November 2, 2011. This historic Olmsted Park is beloved by residents and visitors alike.

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
Volunteer Park Conservatory, Seattle Asian Art Museum, sound, mountain and downtown views, Olmsted Exhibit located in the Water Tower at the south entrance to the park children's play area and a band stand.

Acreage: 48.3

HISTORY

In 1876 the City purchased 40 acres for $2,000 from a sawmill engineer, J. M. Colman (Colman Park) without specifying purpose other than "municipal".

Ordinance 642 in 1885 defined the purpose as "Washelli Cemetery" but two years later it was changed to "Lake View Park" and gravesites were ordered removed. By 1893, the Department had cleared about six acres of timber and planted a nursery supplemented with a greenhouse and hotbed.

Between 1887 and 1904 the park was improved with paths, lawns, beds of flowers, settees and tables for picnickers, and childrens swings, together with native growth, the only greenhouse in the system, and the high pressure reservoir. 1904-1909 the Olmsted Brothers prepared formal plans - gardens system of macadam drives, lily ponds, childrens wading pool and shelter, combination pergola, music pavilion and comfort station, and conservatory building - all completed by 1912.

Conservatory
Outstanding display of flowering plants from all areas of the world, notable orchid collection began as gift from Anna H. Clise in 1919; 600 varieties. The conservatory was built in 1912.
> Conservatory

Water Tower
Built by Water Department 1906, reservoir in 1901. 107 steps to observation deck. 75 1/2 above road pavement at base (top elevation 520;) (Space Needle top elevation 725); pavement at elevation 444.5 is high point of Capitol Hill. Medallion on north side honors L.B. Youngs, first Superintendent of Water Department (1895-1923) and Superintendent of Light Department (1894-1910); bronze by VT Goumas.

Volunteer Monument
Ordinance in 1901 changed the name from "City Park" to Volunteer Park to honor the volunteers of the Spanish-American War (1898-1902). The granite boulder was erected in 1952, promoted by J. Willis Sayre, editor, concert and theatre manager, historian and veteran, through the United Spanish War Veterans (designed by Cassius Beardsley).

Seward Sculpture and pedestal By Richard Brooks of New York. Honors William Seward who was instrumental in purchase of Alaska in 1867. Statue was a feature of the 1909 AYP Exposition held on the US grounds; moved to this location in 1910 (Bailey Peninsula was purchased in 1911 - later named Seward Park). Sculpture financed by public subscription, sponsored by GG Beninghauser (jeweler), Meany, McGraw, et al.

Burke Monument
By Herman McNeil, pedestal-bench-plaza by CF Gould, architect. Dedicated in 1930 to honor pioneer Judge Thomas Burke (1849-1925) - "patriot, jurist, orator, friend, patron of education", promoter of Pacific Rim harmony and trade; instrumental in bringing transcontinental railroad to Seattle. $50,000; memorial contributed by admirers of Judge Burke.

"Block" Playsculpture
By Chas, Smith, UW sculptor, 1962. Honors Dorothy W. Block (1926-1961) for her interest in and activities with children; Park Commissioner 1959-1961. Sculpture sponsored by Block foundation.

Bandstand
Music in Parks began in pioneer days in Pioneer Square, became a feature of the 1909 AYP Exposition; the Olmsteds included a bandstand in their design of this park and concerts have been a feature here since then.

LOVE PARKS! You can make a tax deductible donation to this park through the Seattle Parks Foundation.

Seattle Parks Foundation Logo

To learn more about Seattle Parks and Recreation, including historic landmarks, military base reuse, and the Sherwood History Files, view our Park History.

DIRECTIONS

BY BUS

> Plan a trip to Volunteer Park


Trip Planner brought to you by King County Metro Transit

BY CAR

From I-5 Northbound
  • Take the East Olive Way Exit (exit #166)
  • Bear right on East Olive Way
  • East Olive Way merges into East John St
  • East John comes to a T at 15th Ave E
  • Turn Left on 15th Ave E.
  • In about 3/4 of a mile, the entrance to Volunteer Park will be on your left

From I-5 Southbound

  • Exit at Bolston Ave/Roanoke St (exit #168A)
  • Turn Left on E Roanoke St.
  • Cross I-5
  • Merge into the right lane
  • Turn right at 10th Ave E.
  • Turn Left onto E Boston Street
  • E Boston becomes 15th Ave E.
  • The entrance to Volunteer Park will be on your left (approx 1/2 mile from 10th Ave E.)


VOLUNTEER

In our large parks and recreation system, we could not do what we do without you.
» volunteer in a park!

PROJECTS & PLANNING

Parks & Green Spaces Levy
- Play Area Renovation

Vegetation Management Plan
- Volunteer Park Vegetation Management Plan


Spring at the Volunteer Park Conservatory.


Seattle Asian Art Museum front entrance.


The Volunteer Park children's Play Area.


The Volunteer Park Water Tower.


The Volunteer Park Conservatory


Black Sun by Isamu Noguchi near the Seattle Asian Art Museum.


Plants in the Volunteer Park Conservatory.

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