Katie Black's Garden
This historic landscape was originally created for Katie Black, an early Seattle settler. The community rallied to preserve it and has worked hard to remove blackberries and restore the garden.
Landscaped as a Japanese stroll garden in 1914 this site is home to the last of many important specimen trees on North Beacon Hill, multiple bird species, and small wildlife. Although the garden is relatively small, Katie Black's garden gives a rich experience. The narrow, winding brick path allows one to wander around two ponds and over an arched stone bridge at the point of juncture. Stones set within the now-dry ponds attract the eye, allowing contemplation. Gardens such as this encourage walking, where one can admire a succession of changing views. Lush vegetation surrounds the garden, at one time maintained to capture attention and frame views. Birch, cedar, fir, elm, and a monkey puzzle tree separate the site from the adjacent neighborhood . . . ivy carpets the garden floor. Japanese maples, flowering cherry, rhododendron, hornbeam, Oregon grape, ash, catalpa, peony, Jacob's ladder, quince, and forsythia complete the planting and accent with a variety of rhythm, scale, color and texture. Katie Black's Garden is a small corner of the once-extensive Black family estate located on the North tip of Beacon Hill overlooking downtown Seattle. It is said that in 1913 Frank D. Black offered his wife, Kate Gilmore Black, a "Gran Tour" of Europe. But Kate replied that she would much prefer a grand Japanese garden instead. Thus work was begun on Katie Black's Garden in 1914. Long time local residents recall that the garden has always been open for public enjoyment and that local school teachers often brought whole classes to the garden for nature studies followed by a picnic lunch.
In 1990 a nearby resident, Keith Murray, nominated the site for Parks purchase and preservation through the Opportunity Fund portion of the 1989 Open Space and Trails Bond. In 1992, the property was purchased by Parks and Recreation for permanent preservation for park uses.