South Park Playground

South Park Playfield is located in the West Seattle neighborhood at 738 S Sullivan St, 98108. It is 5.4 acres.

In his 1908 recommendations report, which included several new locations for playfields throughout the newly annexed areas of the city, John Charles Olmsted earmarked several acres in the South Park neighborhood for a playfield. He noted that this area was “practically level – grass land – and well adapted for playfield purposes.”

By 1910, more than five acres had been purchased for ballfield purposes, and talk among the community turned toward acquiring a large (40-acre) park along the hillside west of this location.  In his playgrounds report of that year, however, John Charles recommended augmenting the existing park instead, at least for the near term. He envisioned that if the “two blocks west and the half block north of the present playground were included with it, the western part could be used for a large ballfield and the eastern part for an ornamental park with such park features as are appropriate in a neighborhood park, for instance an ornamental lake with waterside trees and shrubs, clipped lawns with flowering trees and shrubs, a flower garden with formal water basins, fountains, lily pools, terraces, pergolas and the like. There could be an ornamental park shelter facing on one side toward the ballfield and athletic grounds and on the other side toward the formal garden, the lawns and the lake.” These measures were never taken, although development of the site as a ballfield began in 1912.

As for the “hillside park,” Olmsted recommended looking into that at a later time, possibly acquiring and developing such a park in conjunction with developing his proposed “Duwamish Hill Parkway” that would ascend the same slope. South Park was the name of an early town founded on the Duwamish River prior to 1894.  This park was threatened by freeway construction in the 1950’s but saved thanks to community efforts.

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