Stan Sayres Memorial Park is located at 3808 Lake Washington Boulevard S. between the Mt. Baker and Lakewood neighborhoods. It is 15.0 acres, the majority of which is underwater rights.
When John Charles recommended several acres at the north end of Maynard’s Lake Washington Addition for a park in 1908, most of today’s Stan Sayres Park, situated where Wetmore Slough entered Lake Washington, was still underwater. In fact, the last leg of Lake Washington Boulevard, built in 1912 to connect the shoreline north of the slough to Seward Park, included a trestle bridge spanning this delta. With the lowering of Lake Washington, a peninsula connected by a narrow “neck” of land emerged at this spot.
The Olmsted Brothers noted in their report that: “[a]bout 40 acres of this area is now under water, . . . and should eventually be filled in.” Some filling of the slough had already begun with the construction of Rainier Avenue in Columbia City in 1890. Columbia Park and Rainier Playfield would be filled in by 1920. In 1937, when the trestle bridge became unsafe, the roadbed was rebuilt on fill, and soon after the community began petitioning for a playground (now Genesee Park) in the area of the former slough.
With the arrival of hydroplane racing, which was brought to Seattle by Gold Cup winner Stan Sayres in 1950, headquarter facilities for the event had to be accommodated somewhere along Lake Washington. The event was originally staged at Mt. Baker Park Beach, but Stan Sayres Memorial Park became the hydroplane headquarters in 1957.
Originally called “Headland Park” in the 1908 report, John Charles envisioned a park that would also include several acres of the high point of land immediately southeast of today’s park.