Golden Gardens Park is located in the Ballard neighborhood at 8498 Seaview Pl NW, 98117. It is 87.8 acres.
Golden Gardens Park was developed as a privately-owned park and “streetcar destination” in 1907 by Harry W. Treat. A new electric car line, built by area realtors, had its terminus at the upper end of the park, at 85th and Loyal Way. The park was developed at least in part to entice weekenders out to the beach and shoreline and getting them to view available properties along the route. Trails and a road followed winding paths down the wooded slope to connect streetcar travelers with the shoreline far below.
In 1907, the developer E.B. Cox solicited advice from Olmsted, whose recommendations included suggestions about paths connecting down the steep bluffs to the shore and ways to cross the rail tracks to reach the beach. A plan that Cox gave Olmsted states that Golden Gardens Park “Will be the Finest Park on the Pacific Coast.”
At the time Olmsted was in Seattle to recommend parkland to the Board of Park Commissioners for the newly annexed areas of Seattle, including Ballard. In his notes he wrote that “The whole stretch of bluff ought to be in park all the way to city boundary, if it were possible,…” In 1923, the city acquired Golden Gardens Park.
The popular 67-acre park features beaches with tidelands, dunes, renovated wetland lagoons, a renovated bathhouse, recreational field, playground, picnic shelters, streams, miles of native forest trails, and more.
In his 1908 report, Olmsted recommended that Sunset Hill Park be extended northward as far as 80th Street to adjoinGolden Gardens Park.