Home Page
Link to Seattle Department of Neighborhoods home page

Seattle Historical Sites

This application will be offline for Maintenance Saturday Feb 4th from 6am to noon

New Search

Summary for 5200 35th AVE / Parcel ID 2424039007 / Inv # DPR010

Historic Name: Camp Long Cabins (10) Common Name:
Style: Arts & Crafts - Rustic Neighborhood: West Seattle Junction
Built By: Year Built: 1938
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) completed ten cabins in 1938 as part of the recreation area at Camp Long. Camp Long was developed by the WPA in conjunction with the West Seattle Golf Course and the West Seattle Stadium. The city had acquired the site for the golf course in 1935 from the Puget Mill Company, which had owned the land for more than half a century. After its establishment in 1853, the Puget Mill Company had constructed four major sawmills by 1880 and had acquired over 100,000 acres of timberland in the Puget Sound area, including much of West Seattle. West Seattle first gained fame as the landing point of the Denny Party in 1851, however residential and commercial development was slow to come to the area due to its topography and geographic isolation. This problem was partially solved with the establishment of ferry service from Seattle to the east shore of Duwamish Head in 1888. A trolley car line built on trestles replaced the ferry in 1902, and connected with several streetcar lines, which eventually extended service throughout West Seattle. With improved access, West Seattle developed rapidly and was eventually annexed in 1907. However, the Puget Mill Company continued to retain ownership of this large parcel well after the surrounding areas were platted into homesites. In the summer of 1930, the West Seattle Commercial Club petitioned the City Council for a new municipal golf course in West Seattle, together with an offer of a site at 26th Avenue SW and SW Roxbury Street. Two months earlier, a second municipal golf course had opened for play beyond the northern limits of the city. Jackson Park Golf course opened on May 12, 1930 exactly fifteen years to the day after the first municipal golf course had opened at Jefferson Park on Beacon Hill. Residents of the north end had petitioned the Parks Board to develop a second facility due to the increasing popularity of the game. By the mid-1920s, there were twelve private golf courses in King County but only the one public course at Jefferson Park. The Parks Board initially rejected the idea of a third municipal course, partly due to the opposition from private golf clubs, which were beginning to experience financial difficulties as a result of the Depression. By 1935, all disputes had been resolved, and the City Council had appropriated $44,100 from the general fund to buy 207 acres from the Puget Mill Company. Conditions on the deed required that the city procure the assistance of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) to develop a municipal golf course. Created in 1935, the WPA consolidated and superseded several earlier programs, including the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), both of which were established in 1933. In its first six years of existence, the WPA allocated 78% of available funds for projects involved with public works, construction and conservation of natural resources. The remaining 22% of the funds were used for a wide range of community services, including education, recreation and the arts. This was one of the largest projects completed by the WPA for the Parks Department, comprising approximately one-third of the $1.1 million allotted. In October of 1935, H. Chandler Egan of Pebble Beach, California was hired to design the course, a year before he died. The plan developed by January 1936 called for an 18-hole golf course in the level valley area and a recreation area on the wooded slope west of the fairways. This area would feature field archery, horseshoes, softball fields, tennis courts, roller hockey, a pistol range, fish ponds, a swimming pool and field house, a 3,500-seat covered grandstand on each side of a football field, a track, and a parking lot for cars. This overly ambitious scheme was well beyond the amount budgeted for golf purposes. However, WPA workers began clearing and grading land for the recreation area once they were done with the fairways. By this time, Parks Board Commissioner Archie Phelps had envisioned a different use for the wooded slope in its natural condition. He thought it would make an excellent camp for the Boy Scouts of West Seattle. Phelps stopped the development of the recreation area and enlisted the support of Superior Court Judge William G. Long in realizing this vision. In 1937, the Parks Board authorized a change in the name to the "West Seattle Golf Course and Recreation Area," and Clark Schurman, a chief guide at Mt. Rainier and Scoutmaster, was chosen to design the camp, including construction of a climbing rock. Initially, there were efforts to include the athletic field facilities as part of the development of Camp Long, however Mr. Schurman and Judge Long successfully opposed these efforts. The planned stadium was then relocated to the northwest corner of the site, where a garbage dump was located. With the assistance of Recreation Director Ben Evans, Clark Schurman designed the 68-acre site for camping and climbing. Prominent landscape features included eight trails through the wooded slope, Polliwog Lake, a play field for camper games, and a large campfire site. The centerpiece of the site was Monitor Rock, a climbing rock designed to incorporate every mountaineering problem a rock climber could encounter. The climbing rock was located on a hilltop with an unobstructed view of Mt. Rainier. Once a young climber mastered the problems of the rock, the ultimate goal, the summit of Mt. Rainier, would be visible from the rock’s crest. A simulated glacier and a rock fall were also constructed near the climbing rock as part of the total mountaineering experience. In 1955, the climbing rock was renamed Schurman Rock in memory of Clark Schurman, who died that year. In addition to designing Camp Long, Clark Schurman also served as the first camp director from 1942 to 1950. Work on clearing the trails and grading the cabin sites was well under way in 1937. The following year, most of the landscape features, including Monitor Rock, had been completed, and ten cabins were constructed on either side of the playfield at the center. Schurman apparently designed the small buildings to resemble the log cabins of the early Euro-American settlers. On each cabin, the gable roof projected over the front to shelter the cook at the adjacent outdoor stone fireplace. The cabins were named to honor Washington peaks, including Constitution, Pinnacle, Olympus, Glacier, St. Helens, Constance, Pilchuck, Rainier, Adams, and Baker. By 1940, most of the remaining features were completed, and by 1941, the headhouse or clubhouse was finished. Camp Long was officially dedicated in November 1941 with Eleanor Roosevelt in attendance with her daughter, Mrs. Anna R. Boettiger, a resident of Seattle. Since their construction, the cabins have been altered to varying degrees, and some have been made ADA accessible. However, they are significant for their design and for their associations with the Works Progress Administration and with the development of Camp Long.
Completed in 1938, ten wood frame cabins occupy wooded sites along the gently sloping sides of the shallow valley, which runs through the center of the 68-acre Camp Long. In contrast to the wooded slopes, the valley floor contains an open grassy meadow with a small man-made lake or pond at the northern end and a large campfire site at the southern end. Seven cabins are located on the western side of the valley in the vicinity of the office/clubhouse building, prominently situated at the end of SW Dawson Street east of 35th Avenue SW. Three cabins are located on the eastern side of the valley in the vicinity of the Schurman Climbing Rock and the simulated glacier and a rock fall. The names of the ten cabins honor Washington peaks, including Constitution, Pinnacle, Olympus, Glacier, St. Helens, Constance, Pilchuck, Rainier, Adams, and Baker. The small one-story structures display features typical of the WPA/Rustic Style. These include a simple design intended to blend into the surrounding environment, a small scale, an emphasis on horizontal lines and low silhouettes, and a darkly stained wood exterior. Originally, all cabins featured roughly the same design with the same vertical board exterior. Subsequent repairs and alterations, especially those completed for ADA accessibility, have resulted in numerous variations between the ten cabins. Most now have horizontal wood siding covering the lower walls on the side and rear elevations. Some have board and batten siding instead of the original plain vertical board on the upper walls of the minor elevations and the principal elevation. On each cabin, the front gable roof projects as a small porch over the principal elevation and has overhanging eaves and exposed rafters. Paired diagonal braces support the projecting porch roof, which covers the center entrance door as well as a portion of the adjacent outdoor stone fireplace. Originally, each cabin had a short flight of stairs leading to the entrance doors. On seven of the ten cabins, a low bench along the length of the principal elevation has replaced these stairs. For these cabins, a new entrance was installed on a side elevation within a new wall dormer and under a projecting gable roof. A wheelchair accessible ramp with stairs provides access to the entrance, which replaced an original horizontal window opening with a multi-paned sash. The original window opening remains extant on the other side elevation. Originally, each cabin had a stone fireplace of uncut rubble stone masonry, which rested on a cobblestone patio. Larger concrete patios have replaced some of these stone patios. However, the fireplaces with their distinctive arched chimneys remain mostly intact. The later alterations have been completed in sympathy with the original design. For this reason, these cabins retain good physical integrity despite the alterations.

Detail for 5200 35th AVE / Parcel ID 2424039007 / Inv # DPR010

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Vertical - Board and Batten, Vertical - Boards, Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Post & Pier
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Asphalt/Composition
Building Type: Other Plan: Rectangular
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation, Other
Changes to Windows: Moderate
Changes to Original Cladding: Moderate
Changes to Plan: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Camp Long Historical Information Brochure.

Photo collection for 5200 35th AVE / Parcel ID 2424039007 / Inv # DPR010

Photo taken Nov 17, 2000
App v2.0.1.0