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Seward Parks History

Address: 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S > directions
Information : (206) 684-4396
Art Studio: (206) 722-6342

In 1892 Seattle Park Superintendent E. O. Schwagerl proposed that the city buy Bailey Peninsula as part of its first Comprehensive Plan. Many argued that the peninsula was too far from town, but Schwagerl knew better. Luckily, his opinion was backed by the Olmsted Brothers as they developed a plan for Seattle’s parks in 1903. In 1911, the city bought the peninsula for $322,000 and named it after William H. Seward, the Secretary of State who was responsible for America’s purchase of Alaska in 1867.

Development of the park was slow at first. In 1917, the lowering of Lake Washington by construction of the Ship Canal exposed the wide grassy meadow that now leads to the swimming beach. The bathhouse was constructed in 1927. The fish rearing ponds were built in 1935 as part of an effort to make Lake Washington a "fisherman’s paradise." In 1953, a Greek-style amphitheater was hollowed out on the south hillside and for years was the scene of lavish orchestra, chorus, and dance productions under the direction of Gustave Stern.

More Park history is now available from the files of Don Sherwood, 1916-1981, Park Historian > View the Don Sherwood History Files
Updated August 8, 2008

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