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Summary for 2301 Lake Washington BLVD / Parcel ID 4114601830 / Inv # DPR064

Historic Name: Mount Baker Park Boathouse Common Name: Mount Baker Park Bathhouse
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Mount Baker
Built By: Year Built: 1949
This wood frame building was originally constructed in 1948-49 to serve as a boathouse for Mount Baker Park. In 1907, the same year the city annexed much of the Rainier Valley, the Hunter Improvement Company began selling lots in its new Mount Baker Park development. In order to enhance the visual appeal of the neighborhood, the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm had been hired to design the tract’s curvilinear streets and park-like boulevards, which utilized the natural contours of the land. The developers envisioned an exclusive residential area, and applied restrictive covenants to that end, establishing minimum prices to discourage cheap construction and setting restrictions on setbacks and style that were considered revolutionary at the time. As a result, Mount Baker became one of Seattle’s earliest planned residential communities. The tract also included a large, linear parcel of land dedicated forever for park purposes. The beach strip at the northern end of the park had also been donated for boulevard purposes. Unlike other privately developed parks of the time, Mount Baker Park was not intended to be the usual streetcar amusement park. It was designed to be a quiet park along the banks of a stream flowing into the lake, which would feature meadows among the groves of second growth trees. With its attractive amenities and restrictive covenants, Mount Baker quickly developed into a popular and exclusive neighborhood of single family residences. In 1909, neighborhood residents formed the Mount Baker Park Improvement Club, now known as the Mount Baker Community Club, with a mandate to attend to such amenities as lighting, police protection, beautification, and social life. The same year, a public swimming beach with a frame bathhouse had been developed at Colman Park on the shores of Lake Washington just to the north of Mount Baker Park. A public boathouse was also constructed on a pier over the water at Mount Baker Park, and the upper half of the park’s ravine was filled and improved with tennis courts, picnic grounds, and lawns. For many years, residents of Mount Baker enjoyed the exclusive use of the public boathouse and paid no fees to keep their watercraft there. In its early years, the Mount Baker Park Improvement Club worked to ensure that the park and adjacent beach areas were properly maintained and utilized and advocated for new improvements in keeping with their vision of the neighborhood. In 1929, the increasing popularity of the beach at Colman Park resulted in the conversion of an 1892 pumping station on the site for use as a bathhouse, comfort station, and concession stand. By the later 1930s, the boathouse at Mount Baker Park was in need of serious repairs. The Parks Department funded improvements in 1939, however it was considered to be dilapidated and unsafe within five years. The building was condemned and removed in 1946 and replaced by a new moorage facility completed in 1949. The new facility featured a large onshore boathouse and a dock complex with moorage for 32 boats. Two years later, the Mount Baker Boathouse became the race headquarters for the first Gold Cup Hydroplane Race on Lake Washington. In 1949, a group of Seattle businessmen had developed the idea for "Seafair" as a summer festival with a maritime theme in the spirit of the earlier "Golden Potlatch" celebrations. By March of 1950, the organizers, Greater Seattle Inc., had set the dates for the first Seafair for August 11-20, 1950. The centerpiece of the first Seafair was the Aqua Follies at Green Lake Park, however the limited hydroplane races at Green Lake also proved to be very popular. In 1950, Stanley S. "Stan" Sayres, a local Chrysler automobile dealer, won the Gold Cup hydroplane race in Detroit, Michigan, which allowed him to select the site to defend his title the following year. This was the first of five consecutive Gold Cups won by Sayres. With the sponsorship of Greater Seattle Inc., Stan Sayres brought the Gold Cup to Seattle the following year on Saturday, August 4, the first weekend of the second Seafair celebration, which ran for eleven days from August 2 to August 12. More than 200,000 people, the greatest sports crowd in Seattle history to date, watched Sayres’ Slo-mo-shun V win the Gold Cup with Lou Fageol driving. The following weekend, the Seafair Trophy Race was conducted on the final day of Seafair. The Slo-mo-shun V won again, this time with Ted Jones, the boat’s designer, at the wheel. This began a tradition, which continues to this day. In 1957, the race was moved to the newly constructed racing pits at Stanley S. Sayres Memorial Park located on the lakeshore further to the south. The new park honored the memory of Stan Sayres who had died the previous year. By 1961, the dock complex at Mount Baker Park was considered unsafe and was rebuilt as a fishing pier only. Over the objections of the Mount Baker community, the Parks Department converted the boathouse for use as a bathhouse in 1964, after it became necessary to demolish the old bathhouse at Colman Park. This modest wood frame structure is significant for its associations with the first hydroplane races on Lake Washington and the development of Mount Baker Park.
Completed in 1949, this one-story wood frame building occupies a site along Lake Washington Boulevard at the foot of Lake Park Drive South. The side gable building has a one-story side gable wing on the southern end and an open passageway through the center, which create a roughly rectangular footprint. Above the passageway, a front gable addition straddles the ridge of the low-pitch roof at an upper story level. Originally, the side gable roof continued unbroken over this passageway aligned with the dock, which extends east from the shoreline. This alteration may have occurred in 1964 with the building’s conversion from a boathouse to a bathhouse. The modest building faces east towards Lake Washington and contains restrooms in the southern half and lifeguard offices in the northern half. Wide cedar siding covers the building, including the gable ends. On the west elevation, each block has three pairs of small window openings set high on the wall and evenly spaced below the roofline. The openings at the center have two screened windows while the openings at the ends have screened windows paired with louvers. The gable front addition over the passageway has a large center opening. There is an identical opening on the east elevation of the addition. The west elevation of the wing presents a blank wall, as does the east elevation. However, the south elevation contains a single large opening with an overhead door. On the east elevation of the main block, the southern half features the same configuration of paired windows. The northern half has an entrance door north of center between four large modern multi-paned windows. The north elevation has an additional window at the eastern end of the otherwise blank wall. The interior of the passageway has a large window and an entrance door into the northern block and entrances to the restrooms on either side of a center door into the southern block. All of the windows appear to be later replacements. Although well maintained, this building retains little physical integrity due to the extensive alterations.

Detail for 2301 Lake Washington BLVD / Parcel ID 4114601830 / Inv # DPR064

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Wood - Clapboard Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Wood - Shake
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, Transportation
Changes to Windows: Extensive
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
HistoryLink Website (

Photo collection for 2301 Lake Washington BLVD / Parcel ID 4114601830 / Inv # DPR064

Photo taken Nov 09, 2000
App v2.0.1.0