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Summary for 8650 55th AVE / Parcel ID 3336002455 / Inv # DPR008

Historic Name: Atlantic City Park Comfort Station Common Name: Beer Sheva Park Comfort Station
Style: Arts & Crafts - Rustic Neighborhood: Rainier Beach
Built By: Year Built: 1940
This architecturally distinctive comfort station was constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1940 with cobblestones salvaged from city streets during repaving projects. The origins of the park date to 1905 when the Hillman Investment Company platted the Atlantic City Addition in the Rainier Beach neighborhood. The real estate company dedicated an area for a public park on the shores of Lake Washington and proceeded to develop Atlantic City Park with a bathhouse, pier, boathouse, picnic stove and benches. At the time, the park was located on a cove at the south end of the swampy Dunlap Slough, which separated Pritchard’s Island from the mainland. Two years later, the Hillman Investment Company attempted to replat the addition without the park, but a lawsuit brought by residents forced the retention of the park. The City of Seattle acquired the park in its annexation of the Rainier Valley in 1907 but made no additional improvements to it until after 1916. In that year, the level of Lake Washington was lowered by nine feet with the construction of the Ship Canal, which left most of the park’s boating and bathing facilities stranded on dry land. Pritchard’s Island also became connected to the mainland by the low-lying area of land formerly part of Dunlap Slough. By the mid-1920s, the old pier had been removed, and the Parks Department had built new tennis courts, a children’s play area, and a new picnic stove. There were also proposals at this time to expand the park to the northeast through the former slough. In 1934, the Parks Department acquired Pritchard Island Beach on the cove north of the slough, and acquired the slough itself a year later. In 1935, the south half of the slough was developed as the Atlantic City Park Nursery of the Parks Departments’ Horticulture Section. Further improvements to the park came in 1940 as part of a relief project by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA built the cobblestone comfort station to replace the old picnic shelter, and constructed a new stove shelter and drinking fountain. The WPA also used cobblestones to construct Camp Long’s Office/Clubhouse the following year. A few years later, the Rainier Beach Men’s Club purchased a waterfront parcel of land at the southern end of the park, but it was many years before it was developed into a boat ramp. In 1978, the park was renamed to honor Seattle’s new sister city of Beer Sheva, Israel, however the nursery and the boat ramp retained the original name. This architecturally unique comfort station is significant for its design and for its associations with the Works Progress Administration and with the development of the Rainier Beach neighborhood and Atlantic City/Beer Sheva Park.
Completed in 1940, this architecturally distinctive cobblestone comfort station occupies a site at the midpoint of Beer Sheva Park, which is located north of South Henderson Street between Seward Park Avenue South and the western shoreline of Lake Washington. Rainier Beach High School is located across the street to the west. The one-story hip roof structure has hip roof wings, which create a T-shaped footprint. Covered by an overhanging wood shake roof, the building faces south and contains a women’s restroom in the western wing and a men’s restroom in the eastern wing. Single door entrances to the restrooms are situated within the recessed wings at either end of the principal south elevation. These doors appear to be later replacements. An additional door at the center of this elevation provides access to a maintenance room. The lower half of the original patterned wood door has been covered with a thin panel. The upper walls below the eaves are lined with narrow window openings covered with metal screens on all elevations except for the center portions of the north and south elevations. There are signs of rising damp in places and graffiti mars the east and north elevations. However, the building retains very good physical integrity.

Detail for 8650 55th AVE / Parcel ID 3336002455 / Inv # DPR008

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Stone Foundation(s): Stone
Roof Type(s): Hip Roof Material(s): Wood - Shake
Building Type: Other Plan: T-Shape
Structural System: Masonry - Unreinforced No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation, Other
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.

Photo collection for 8650 55th AVE / Parcel ID 3336002455 / Inv # DPR008

Photo taken Oct 27, 2000
App v2.0.1.0