Miller Playfield

Miller Playfield is located just east of the First Hill neighborhood (in Miller Park) at 330 19th Ave E, 98112. It is 7.9 acres.

Olmsted Brothers’ 1903 Comprehensive Plan recommended building independent playgrounds in addition to an interconnected park and parkway system.  They urged the city to secure land “where there are opportunities for playgrounds.” In 1906, Mary M. Miller responded by gifting 1.8 acres for a playground commemorating her son. In 1907 the firm drew up a preliminary design, which included a playfield, a play area for small children, and an “open air gymnasium for women and girls.” Two stairways are shown leading into the park from 19th Ave, as well as planted slopes surrounding the playfield. The design, with its north and south borders generally in line with Harrison and Thomas streets and contained between 19th and 20th avenues, occupied only a portion of the modern site.

In their 1909 report, the parks commissioners described the playfield as “a fine level tract of land, across the street from the Longfellow School. . . ,” noting further that it “has been graded completely, swings, sand courts, teeters, etc., provided and is utilized particularly by the smaller children of the neighborhood.”

By 1910 a shelter house had been completed downslope from 19th Avenue and play equipment installed where Miller Community Center now stands. However, the layout differed entirely from the Olmsted plan. The playground has since quadrupled to include popular ball fields and other facilities. The park was originally called “Pendelton Miller Playfield.”

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