South Bourne 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.

Olmsted describes a general route for this parkway that begins along the crest of Duwamish Hill and gradually runs down its western slope to eventually reach Lincoln Park: “From the point west of South Park at which Duwamish Hill Parkway reaches the east edge of the plateau, it is proposed to run a wide parkway on curving lines westerly across the plateau, then southwesterly, slanting down the west hillside to the proposed park at Williams Point [Lincoln Park today].” Comparing the drawing of his proposed route on a 1908 map to a contemporary map, it appears that Fauntleroy Park and Riverview Playfield, as well as portions of the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail, fall within the general lines of the proposed parkway.

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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