Sound Bluffs 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.

The Sound Bluffs Parkway recommendation was “designed to follow and preserve the steep slopes and bluffs from Williams Point [Lincoln Park] northward to Schmitz Park” and Alki Point. The parkway would have connected Schmitz Park and West Seattle Parkway to the north with Lincoln Park and the (never realized) South Bourne Parkway to the south. Along the bluff itself, Olmsted noted that the “driveway is intended to keep just above the steepest part of the slopes to be acquired and preserved without interfering any more than is necessary with the valuable residence properties along the shore road.”

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 information.

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Olmsted 200. Celebrating Parks for All People

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