Duwamish Hill 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.

In his 1908 report Olmsted describes the route thus: “From [the terminus of Dunlap Canyon Parkway, at ‘the foot of the steep hill west of the river’], this parkway is proposed to continue with two roadways, one a pleasure drive and the other a traffic road, rising gradually up the steep hillside, winding in and out for ravines and spurs until the gently sloping edge of the plateau is reached. There would be a gradually widening parking strip or reservation between the two roads and as fully as practicable the wild woods should be preserved between the two roads. This arrangement is proposed to continue to Pigeon Point west of South Seattle and east of Youngs Cove [located at the north end of Youngstown].”

In his 1910 report on playgrounds, Olmsted added to this concept, suggesting a large park might be located along the hillside in conjunction with the parkway. This was at least partially in response to current interest from the South Park community to develop such a park.  He recommended deferring the establishment of a hillside park until the parkway might be designed. Olmsted wrote that “in a later stage of development of the general park system there shall be a parkway skirting the southern borders of South Park climbing the hillside gradually,” and “it would be a part of that project to provide a hillside park of even more than 40 acres over which to command the views of the Duwamish valley, including South Park.”

The route shown on the map is approximate and based on the 1908 map, “Olmsted System, Parks, Boulevards and Playgrounds of the City of Seattle,” as well as current topographical and parcel property information.

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