Brighton Beach Parkway (unrealized)

This is one of several parkways, never built, that were recommended by Olmsted in his 1908 supplemental report. The 1908 study specifically addressed recently annexed areas of the city, including West Seattle, Ballard and south Seattle. The network of “pleasure drives” that Olmsted envisioned aimed to extend the connected system of parks and boulevards into these newer city areas, and the routes he proposed responded to the local topography and features of the region to help provide a heightened experience of one’s surroundings. As John Charles penned in the 1908 report, these parkways were to provide “an appreciable amount of informal natural landscape beauty.” These parkways also would have connected and sometimes traversed park parcels dedicated for recreation and/or scenic beauty.

Brighton Beach Parkway was “projected to occupy the shore of Lake Washington” south of Seward Park, in effect extending the reach of Lake Washington Boulevard as far as Pritchard Island and Atlantic City Park (today’s Beer Sheva Park) at Rainier Beach. At this juncture the parkway would then turn west to connect to other parkways leading to Beacon Hill and the Duwamish River Valley. Olmsted noted the route’s “width in the case of the shore portion would depend a good deal upon the attitude of the owners of land through which it would pass,” whereas in “the case of the inland section, its width may be uniformly 200 feet and it could be improved as a formal boulevard.”

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Olmsted 200. Celebrating Parks for All People

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