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The first public park within the city limits of Seattle was Denny Park - a gift to the city by David T. Denny in 1884.

In 1887, the Board of Park Commissioners was established to oversee development of the Seattle park system.

Seattle Parks Commissioners hired the famed Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm in 1903 to design a comprehensive system of parks and boulevards for the city. The Olmsted Plan for Seattle’s parks spurred the early development of the Seattle park system and has been the basis of our modern day park system.
(view Olmsted History.)

Don Sherwood map of Denny Park
Map of Denny Park from the
Sherwood History Files.

Much of Seattle Park history was documented by Donald N. Sherwood (1916-1981). The Seattle Parks and Recreation's Sherwood History Files is the incredible legacy of Sherwood, who worked as an engineer for Parks for 22 years from 1955 to 1977.

Updated September 24, 2014

Park History
» Sherwood History Files
» Olmsted Parks
African Americans and
Seattle Parks

» Military Base Reuse
» Historic Landmarks
» Historic Resources Plan
Funding, Grants,
Bonds & Major Gifts

Researching Seattle's City Parks & Playfields (city archive)

Park History on
HistoryLink.orgThis link will take you off the City of Seattle web site
» Olmsted ParksThis link will take you off the City of Seattle web site
Olmsted Park Plan
This link will take you off the City of Seattle web site

John Charles Olmsted 1903
Photograph courtesy
National Park Service
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