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Summary for Phinney AVE / Parcel ID 0725049001 / Inv # SPU031

Historic Name: Woodland Park Standpipe Common Name:
Style: Other - Industrial Neighborhood: Green Lake
Built By: Year Built: 1925
The Seattle Water Department constructed this 1,000,000-gallon standpipe in 1924-25 on the western side of Woodland Park along Phinney Avenue North at North 53rd Street. The Parks Department had acquired the 180-acre park in 1899 from the estate of Guy C. Phinney, a wealthy lumber mill owner and real estate developer. In the late 1880s, Phinney paid $10,000 for 342 acres of land along what we now call Phinney Ridge and down the slope to Green Lake and kept more than half of it for himself. He then spent $40,000 converting his land into an elegant English-style estate named Woodland Park, complete with formal gardens, and generously opened his estate to the public as long as they obeyed his conspicuously posted rules. Since the location was considered far from the center of town, Phinney also installed a streetcar line down the hill to the town of Fremont. Phinney’s untimely death in 1893 at the age of 41 left his estate unfinished. Six years later, his widow sold the property to the city despite significant controversy over the $100,000 asking price and the distant location, and opposition by Mayor Thomas J. Humes. In 1903, the city hired the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm to prepare plans for a comprehensive park and boulevard system, including suggestions for improvements to existing parks. This move was largely brought on by the public interest generated for the planned Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and through the purchase of Woodland Park and the acquisition of Washington Park, two large tracts of mostly undeveloped land. A general plan for the landscape development of Woodland Park was included in the initial report prepared by the firm, but a more detailed plan with 65 drawings was not completed until 1910. Within four years, the park had been almost entirely reconstructed following the detailed plans of the Olmsted Brothers, which incorporated many of the existing features. Ten years later, the Water Department chose a site on the western edge of the park in order to construct a new steel standpipe for the purpose of increasing and stabilizing pressure on Phinney Ridge and the territory south of Woodland Park. Construction of the standpipe would provide the community with the storage facilities necessary to eliminate the almost complete loss of pressure experienced during the irrigating season. A new Cedar River Pipeline No. 3, completed in 1923, and a new Cedar River impound reservoir, Lake Youngs, completed in 1926, required additional storage and distribution capacity within the city during the mid-1920s. At the time of its construction, there were plans to install a masonry casing around the Woodland Park Standpipe, somewhat similar to one in Volunteer Park. The standpipe had been designed with this in mind, as the exterior was considered objectionable in its unfinished condition. The Water Department planned to complete this improvement in the summer of 1928, however the project remained unrealized. The Woodland Park Standpipe is significant for its association with the growth and development of the Seattle Water system.
Constructed in 1924-25, this 1,000,000-gallon steel standpipe is located outside the grounds of the Woodland Park Zoo on the western side along Phinney Avenue North at North 53rd Street. Bolted to a circular concrete foundation with large screws, the standpipe is comprised of twelve horizontal bands of riveted steel plates, approximately six-feet in height, with eight plates per band. This exterior is painted dark green at the base with a lighter green above. A ladder on the western side extends to the standpipe’s conical sheet metal roof, which features a slight overhang and a small ball finial at its peak. Modern telecommunications equipment has been installed at the top of the standpipe. Encircled by a concrete path, the standpipe has various locked hatches at the ground level. Immediately south of the standpipe, there is a small one-story building clad with buff colored brick, which appears to be of more recent construction.

Detail for Phinney AVE / Parcel ID 0725049001 / Inv # SPU031

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Structure District Status:
Cladding(s): Metal Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Other Roof Material(s): Metal
Building Type: Industry/Processing/Extraction - Waterworks Plan: Other
Structural System: Steel No. of Stories:
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Science & Engineering
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
McWilliams, Mary. Seattle Water Department History, 1854-1954: Operational Data and Memoranda. Seattle, WA: Water Department, City of Seattle, c1955.
Seattle Water Department. Annual report / City of Seattle, Water Department. Seattle, WA: 1908-1965.

Photo collection for Phinney AVE / Parcel ID 0725049001 / Inv # SPU031

Photo taken Jul 11, 2000
App v2.0.1.0