South Seattle 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.

In his 1908 report, John Charles describes the parkway route as “intended to run from the north end of City Park (Jefferson Park) westerly across the north end of the City cemetery to the crest of the bluff or steep west slope of Beacon Hill. It would then turn and run southerly down the top edge of the steep bluff “and then “turn and run northwesterly down the steep slope to the railroads, which, together with the county road, with its heavy traffic and electric car lines, it would cross over by bridges. Continuing westerly, it would run by a straight line to the Duwamish River, which it would cross by a drawbridge. Upon striking the steep hillside west of the river it would turn and slant northwesterly to a connection in the ravine with the . . . West Seattle Parkway.” The route would have wound around the north end of the bluff (today’s Puget Park), and then descended SW along a route now traced by a section of Puget Boulevard. The parkway was never built, but portions of the ROW had been bought up for this and the West Seattle Parkway routes, including the north portion of Puget Park and a route through the golf course.

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