Kinnear Park

Kinnear Park is located in the Queen Anne neighborhood at 899 W Olympic Pl, 98119. It is 14.1 acres.

The land for Kinnear Park was a gift to the City by George and Angie C. Kinnear in 1887 and was only the second park property acquired by the City. The park encompasses approximately 14 acres bordering W Olympic Place. It originally extended to the beach at the foot of bluff; the park is now bounded on the south by W Mercer Pl. Improvements to the Park were made by the community with the assistance of the City crew starting in 1890.

The Olmsted Bros. report of 1903 reports that the Park had existing “symmetrical paths, green lawns, clusters of trees and shrubbery and flower beds.” John Charles observed that a “few tall fir trees remain, and a considerable number of native deciduous and broad-leaved evergreen trees and shrubs survive.” The park is “pleasing in detail and extremely valuable, owing to the fine views which it commands over the Sound. It is a good sample of the miles of similar bluff parks which it is hoped the city will eventually have,” noting further that much of the park is “so steep as to be unavailable, except to look over.”  Olmsted also admired the site’s native madrone trees for having a “beauty of color and wealth of foliage.”

The report recommended that the Park should be re-designed with its own individuality, moving away from the ‘exotic character’ that had been added: “The shrubbery which has been added in the park. . . repeats practically the same assortment used in Denny Park. . . .  [E]ach park should have an individuality of its own, and this idea should be acted on in the planting as well as in the constructive features.” The Olmsted plan further observes that, in “seeking for some local conditions that will indicate an idea to be followed in the selection of plants, it seems that the fact that it is well sheltered from the north by the hill, and the fact that the ground is at the same time well drained, indicate that it would be a particularly appropriate idea to make a planting feature of the early-flowering shrubs and perennial herbaceous plants, omitting all tender bedding plants and all plants appropriately associated with low, moist ground.” In a letter to his wife, John Charles commented on other designed elements of the park, noting that the existing paths were “very crooked” and the surrounding banks “steep and high.”

The 1903 report also suggests that a branch of the main parkway system, after crossing the ship canal to land by the northwest spur of Queen Anne hill (a parkway section that was never realized), should follow the hill’s western slope along the top of the bluff until reaching Kinnear Park. John Charles recommended the parkway be so wide as to “include enough of the steep slope to control the view.” Olmsted named this boulevard the Kinnear Parkway. It was never realized.

The Olmsted Brothers firm prepared drawings for a seating wall which still exists along West Olympic Place. A service building, comfort station and tennis court were all added to the park in the 1940’s.

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