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Warren G. Magnuson

Warren G. Magnuson Park
History

 
Warren G. Magnuson Park Information: (206)684-4946
Park Address: 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115 > directions
Administrative Office Visiting Address: 6310 NE 74th St, bldg 30 southeast offices
Administrative Office Mail: 6310 NE 74th St., Suite 109E, Seattle, WA 98115

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MOMENTS IN PARK HISTORY

Naval Air Station Seattle Band
"JIVE BOMBERS"
The Jive Bombers
The "Jive Bombers" band, under the direction of Chief Petty Officer Brabenic, outside the base theater, 2 May 1944. Source: Official U.S. Navy PhotographThis link will take you off the City of Seattle web site

Today, the U.S. military is often used as a example of racial equality and opportunity, but before 1948 segregation was the rule. Even though President Truman ordered formal integration, President Franklin Roosevelt made a step forward six years before that by suggesting that the Navy create black bands to elevate the status of black Navy men.

During the World War II, blacks were recruited into the Navy to serve only as cooks, mess attendants, or stewards. By Executive Order of the President in 1942 blacks were allowed to serve as yeoman and other ratings. Starting in 1943, 5,000 musicians were recruited from across the country to officially serve as musicians. They were then sent to the Great Lakes Naval Base, near Chicago, for training to play in big bands. As a result this experiment was called "The Great Lakes Experience of World War II.". Following training, 25-piece bands were formed and to tour naval bases across the United States and for raising morale where they played. When the war ended, the musicians went home. Some of formed bands or joined other bands, and some became renowned jazz artists and arrangers. A couple of the more notable ones were Von Freeman and Clark Terry, the jazz trumpeter who later performed with Duke Ellington and the ''Tonight'' show band. Many of them just went into other lines of work.

In Seattle, we know that one of these bands may have been stationed at Naval Air Station Seattle, now known as Warren G. Magnuson Park. One photo shows the band, "Jive Bombers" set up in front of Building 47, the recently remodeled community recreation center.

One member of the band (not known if he is shown in the photo) was Alvin Larkins. It is known that Larkins came to Seattle when the Navy stationed him at NAS Seattle in 1943. After a long career of teaching music, Alvin Larkins Park was named after him in the 1970's. Other known members of the band include, drummer Duke Moore (arriving in Seattle in 1942). Moore and other black musicians were best known for the jazz group, "The Question Marks". Another member was vocalist Babe Williams, known for his renditions of tunes by the Ink Spots and Mills Brothers.

On February 28, 2003, tribute was paid to the Navy's first "official" black musicians through several events in Chicago.

Sources
Laney, Mary. Time has come to honor Navy's black musicians in WWII. February 10, 2003 Chicago Sun Times.
Lazarus, Judy R. The Navy's 'jazzy' history. February 2003. Great Lakes Bulletin.
Museum of History and Industry. Duke Moore drummer with The Question Marks. 2002.
Museum of Music. Integrating the Navy with Jazz: The Great Lakes Experience, 1942-1945.
May 19, 2003. Vibrations.
Seattle Parks and Recreation. Alvin Larkins Park. December 31, 2003.

WHO WAS WARREN G. MAGNUSON?

Warren G. MagnusonWarren Grant "Maggie" Magnuson (April 12, 1905–May 20, 1989) represented the state of Washington in the United States Senate from 1944 until 1981. When he left the Senate he was the most senior member of the body.

His connections to the City of Seattle included, secretary of the Seattle Municipal League from 1930-31; special prosecuting attorney for King County in 1931.  His political career began as a member of the Washington State House of Representatives from 1933-1934.  This was followed by serving as a United States district attorney in 1934 and then again as a prosecuting attorney for King County from 1934-1936. During the Second World War he served in the United States Navy and attained the rank of lieutenant commander and served for almost one year on the USS Enterprise. Magnuson served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the Washington's 1st congressional district from 1937 to 1944.

Senator Magnuson introduced several bills to the U.S. Congress that would have increased the significance of naval activities on the Sand Point peninsula.  In 1938, he unsuccessfully backed a bill to establish a second Naval Academy on Puget Sound.  In 1940 and 1945 he attempted to make NAS Seattle an upper division academy for the west coast.  These proposals were also not carried forward.  In May 1950, it was reported that Senator Magnuson along with Representative Henry M. Jackson, met with the Naval Air Station Civic Development Association to discuss ways to keep the station open.  However, it was also reported that Senator Magnuson was “quietly working with the University of Washington” to develop the framework for transferring the station to the university for an expanded campus

In 1976, the City Council authorized the initial development of Sand Point Park (CB 97246) in the eastern portion of former Naval Air Station, Seattle.  In May 1977, Sand Point Park was renamed for Senator Magnuson, who helped to secure federal funding for developing the park.



TIMELINE: NAVAL BASE TO PARK

The history of the peninsula is summarized in the eight periods listed below and includes photos and maps.



Historic Preservation

Of the City's 15 regional/major parks, both Discovery and Magnuson were originally purchased in the late 1800's and early 1900's and given to the federal government to develop military bases. Only in the last 30 years were these bases decommissioned and returned to the City for recreation purposes.
 » more


HISTORIC FEATURES IN THE PARK

The Freedom Tree – This tree, a now 60-foot deodar cedar, is located at the northwest corner of N.E. 74th Street and 62nd Avenue N.E. It was dedicated in 1972 "to the sons of Washington and all prisoners of war and missing in action."

Historic District – History and architecture buffs will be interested in the historic, former Navy buildings in Warren G. Magnuson Park’s Community Campus. This historic district is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The property is historically significant based on the role it played in the U.S. Navy’s expansion and development in the Puget Sound region, and on the architecture of many of its buildings. The buildings include brick and metal structures from the 1930s and 1940s in Art Deco and Colonial Revival styles. These structures were the core of Navy activities at Sand Point. A complementary horticultural plan was defined in and around these historic structures.

Warren G. Magnuson Park ArchitectureArt Deco - The Art Deco style began in Europe and became very popular in the United States between WorldWar I and World War II. Art Deco is characterized by streamlined, rhythmic machine forms, exotic imagery, and the use of materials to give a feeling of motion. Ornamentation usually consists of low-relief geometrical design, which could be parallel straight lines, zigzags, chevrons and stylized floral patterns. Another common element is the decorative treatment of building entrances.

Good examples of Art Deco at Warren G. Magnuson Park are the Recreation Center (Building 47), Building 30 (6310 N.E. 74th Street), the nearby Building 25 (owned by the University of Washington) and Building 29 (just north of the N.E. 74th Street entrance to the park).

Colonial Revival - The Colonial Revival architectural style first became common at the end of the 19th Century and became very popular in the first decades of the 20th. The style is based on colonial-era architecture in the eastern United States. Buildings of this style generally have a symmetrical look, sash windows, and gabled dormers projecting from the sloped roof. A typical color scheme is red with white trim.

The finest example of Colonial Revival style at Warren G. Magnuson Park is Building 9 (owned by the University of Washington). It is located on 62nd Ave. N.E., and is south of the N.E. 74th Street entrance to the park. The building is composed of a series of large pavilions connected by smaller links, and is in red brick with white trim. The windows have decorative keystones of cast concrete. The north and south wings have gabled dormers on the third floor.

If you’d like to take a walk through the historic district, see the "Walking Trails" page. To see the Historic Properties Reuse and Protection Plan (1998) and other park planning documents, consult the collection at the Seattle Public Library’s North East Branch, 6801 35th Ave. N.E., 206-684-7539.

Warren G. Magnuson Park Architecture

 » For information about historic architectural styles, see the National Park Service Web site http://www2.cr.nps.gov/tps/character/welcome.htm .

World Flight Monument – The World Flight Monument commemorates the first around-the-world flight in 1924. This flight originated and ended at Sand Point. The 30,000-mile flight took five months to complete—from April to September. This monument is located at the N.E. 74th Street entrance to Warren G. Magnuson Park and includes sculptures by Alonzo Victor Lewis. He was known at one time as "Washington’s Sculptor Laureate."


More Park history is now available from the files of Don Sherwood, 1916-1981, Park Historian  » View the Don Sherwood History Files
 
Updated February 17, 2012

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