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Summary for 800 Lake Washington BLVD / Parcel ID 4114600995 / Inv # DPR057

Historic Name: Madrona Park Concession & Comfort Station Common Name:
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Madrona
Built By: Year Built: 1959
This modest brick building was constructed in 1959 to replace two earlier wood frame structures, which housed the same functions. The city had originally acquired the privately developed Madrona Park in 1908. In 1890, a real estate company headed by J.D. Lowman established an electric trolley line, first called the Union Trunk Line, and developed Madrona Park along the shores of Lake Washington at its terminus. At that time, streetcar lines often terminated at a popular attraction so as to encourage real estate development along the length of the line and to increase ridership outside of regular commuting hours, especially on weekends. On its way down to the lake, the streetcar ran through a deep and picturesque ravine, making it one of the most scenic trolley rides in the city. Lowman’s real estate company initially developed the park with a boat dock, wooden bench swings, rustic benches, and paths along the lake and up the hillside with rustic shelters along the way. By 1892, the company had added a boathouse, hotel, and refreshment stand as new amenities for the park’s narrow beach area. To make the streetcar line more profitable during weekdays and the winter, a wharf and warehouse with service tracks for freight cars were built adjacent to the north side of the park. This allowed for cross-lake transportation of goods and passengers in an era when travel by boat predominated. Although Madrona Park was quite successful, the owners sold it to the city in 1908 once they had sold off most of their real estate holdings, and it was no longer necessary to maintain the attraction. Shortly after acquiring the park, the Parks Department extended the boulevard along Lake Washington through this area but had to build the road on a pile trestle to avoid the hotel and refreshment stand at the base of the hillside. This extension followed the recommendations of the Olmsted Brothers landscape firm. In 1903, the city had hired the Olmsted Brothers to develop a comprehensive plan for parks, boulevards and playgrounds in Seattle. 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. In 1908, the plan was supplemented by an additional report, which included the extensive areas of the city annexed the previous year. Initially, the Parks Department took over management of the hotel, boathouse and dock, which were enjoyed by many visitors to the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. However, the Parks Department demolished the hotel the following year, and began filling in the shoreline to provide a wider roadbed for the boulevard. Over the next ten years, a number of improvements were made, including construction of a comfort station, two tennis courts, a bathhouse, and a privately operated concession stand. These wood frame structures were constructed as temporary amenities until more permanent improvements could be built In 1925, the Seattle Engineering Department initiated substantial improvements to the boulevard in the vicinity of Madrona Park, which improved access to the park and increased its popularity. The improvements shifted the route of the boulevard to the base of the hill, requiring the demolition of the 1911 comfort station. A new wood frame comfort station was constructed near the concession stand in 1925. In 1928, a new brick masonry bathhouse was completed, replacing the 1919 frame building. In 1932, the ten-year-old concession stand was rebuilt with a Streamline Moderne appearance. The wood frame structures remained in use until the late 1950s by which time they had fallen into an advanced state of disrepair. In 1959, the concession and comfort station were combined into a single masonry building north of the bathhouse. This building is significant for its association with the development of Madrona Park.
Completed in 1959, this one-story building occupies a site on the eastern side of a small circular drive off of Lake Washington Boulevard within Madrona Park. The brick building has an irregular plan with a concession in the narrower southern half and restrooms in the northern half. The flat roof covers the restroom entrances on the inner walls of the recessed northeast and northwest corners. Metal posts support the roof at the corners. The north elevation presents a blank brick wall between the recessed corners, as does the northern end of the west elevation. At the recessed southern end of the elevation, the flat roof covers two large openings within the upper wood wall of the concession block and continues across the south elevation where it covers two similar but slightly smaller openings. Brick cladding wraps the lower walls of both elevations and supports a continuous counter below the openings set with overhead metal doors. Metal posts at the outer edge of a concrete walkway support the perimeter of the overhanging roof. The exposed south wall of the wider northern block has an entrance door, which provides access to the concession. At the southern end of the east elevation, a shed roof covers an outdoor storage area enclosed by a chain link fence. The only opening on this elevation is an entrance door situated north of center below a louvered opening. This modest building retains excellent physical integrity.

Detail for 800 Lake Washington BLVD / Parcel ID 4114600995 / Inv # DPR057

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Brick, Plywood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Flat Roof Material(s): Unknown
Building Type: Other Plan: Irregular
Structural System: Unknown No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Commerce, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Original Cladding: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Changes to Plan: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.

Photo collection for 800 Lake Washington BLVD / Parcel ID 4114600995 / Inv # DPR057

Photo taken Nov 06, 2000
App v2.0.1.0