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Summary for Harrison-Thomas St, Minor-Pontius AVE / Parcel ID 2467400335 / Inv #

Historic Name: Cascade Playground Common Name: Cascade Park
Style: Other Neighborhood: Cascade
Built By: Year Built: 1936
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the Seattle Landmarks Preservation Ordinance.
In the opinion of the survey, this property is located in a potential historic districe (National and/or local).
Like many of its neighbors, Cascade Park, formerly Cascade Playground, was built on the plat originally known as the “Fairview Homestead Association for the Benefit of Mechanics and Laborers,” thanks to WPA labor. Now part of the Seattle Parks system, the playground property once adjoined and served the Cascade School, built in 1894 and designed by John Parkinson. The Cascade School was demolished in the 1950s and replaced by the Central Supply Center, now Evergreen Wholesale Florist, built in 1955. Prior to the building of the Playground, by 1931, most of Block 10 of the “Fairview Homestead,” where the park was to be located was owned by the City of Seattle or the School Board; but there were still a number of individually owned houses still on the site. The owners of these houses were encouraged to sell them. By the end of 1931, all remaining houses and buildings had been removed. Notes in the Sherwood History Files at the City Municipal Archives suggest that building basements may possibly have been “left intact.” In 1934, the idea of building a playground was still hotly debated in the neighborhood, but the pro-playground group eventually prevailed. Even in 1937, though, the Fairview- Stewart Improvement Club was protesting improvements to the playfield. Most significant among their arguments, and also interesting in terms of the later fate of the Cascade School, (demolished supposedly as a result of the earthquake of 1949), were the following: the Cascade School is old and out of date and ought to be demolished; it is located in an area that is becoming increasingly industrial and commercial and therefore should be and probably will be abandoned; therefore, improving the playfield is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Beginning in the 1934, however, under the Works Progress Administration, the park was redesigned to incorporate several site structures: the retaining wall, including the brick exterior walls of the present “comfort station,” and the more utilitarian concrete retaining walls, were built by WPA labor in 1936-37, the “comfort station,” in 1938, (see entry for 031A) and the Japanese Garden in 1938-39 (see entry for 031B) By the 1970s, the playground site was somewhat bleak and known by locals as the “Sahara Desert.” A new community effort saw the redevelopment of the park in 1971. This also included a retaining wall mural, funded by the Seattle Arts Commission and designed by Mike Love and George Shayler. The association with both the School District, the ties with the demolished Cascade School as well as the Works Progress Administration is especially significant. It is also testimony to the early community efforts and even activism that seem to have frequently marked Cascade’s history
Cascade Park, originally called the Cascade Playground is a large green expanse, with several important historical features within it: the brick exterior walls of the present “comfort station,” to the northeast of the park and the more utilitarian concrete retaining walls; the brick “comfort station” and the wading pool and small garden. (See entries for 031A and 031B).

Detail for Harrison-Thomas St, Minor-Pontius AVE / Parcel ID 2467400335 / Inv #

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Site District Status: INV
Cladding(s): None Foundation(s):
Roof Type(s): None Roof Material(s): None
Building Type: Landscape - Park Plan: Irregular
Structural System: None No. of Stories:
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Politics/Government/Law
Changes to Plan: Intact
Other: Slight
Major Bibliographic References
City of Seattle DCLU Microfilm Records.
King County Property Record Card (c. 1938-1972), Washington State Archives.
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Plaques on the exterior wall of the “retaining wall/comfort station” structure and on the little bridge at the edge of the Wading Pool (WPA, 1936-37 and 1938-39).
Sherwood, Don, Notes on the “Cascade P.G.”, Sherwood History Files (10.27.76), Seattle Parks and Recreation Website:

Photo collection for Harrison-Thomas St, Minor-Pontius AVE / Parcel ID 2467400335 / Inv #

Photo taken Sep 30, 2003
App v2.0.1.0