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Summary for Woodland Park AVE / Parcel ID 0725049002 / Inv # DPR053

Historic Name: Lower Woodland Park Comfort Station #2 (1952) Common Name:
Style: Modern Neighborhood: Green Lake
Built By: Year Built: 1952
In the opinion of the survey, this property appears to meet the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places.
This modern building was completed in 1952 to serve as a comfort station for the nearby picnic area. In 1899, the Parks Department acquired the 180-acre Woodland Park 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. These plans included a zoological garden for the upper area of Woodland Park and athletic fields and a picnic grove for the lower eastern half. Located along the wooded hillside above the athletic fields, the picnic grove was connected to the rest of the park by a series of pathways. Amenities included picnic tables and stove shelters for use by the visitors to the park. The picnic grove quickly became a major attraction, especially for large groups. However, there were few improvements made to the picnic grove until the early 1950s with the exception of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, which grubbed and cleared the area in the late 1930s. The combination of financial difficulties due to the economic depression of the 1930s and shortages of labor and materials brought on by the Second World War had effectively halted construction of any new park buildings. In 1952, the picnic grove was redeveloped with a paved loop roadway, new picnic shelters, and a new comfort station. This modest building is significant for its association with the development of Woodland Park.
Completed in 1952, this concrete block comfort station occupies a site near the southern end of Lower Woodland Park at the beginning of a picnic loop road, which enters from North 50th Street at Woodland Park Avenue North. The one-story structure has a front gable main block with small entrance porches at the eastern ends of the north and south elevations, which create a T-shaped footprint. The low-pitch roof overhangs the north and south elevations and extends over the projecting porches. The Modern building faces west towards the road and contains a women’s restroom in the northeast corner and a men’s restroom in the southeast corner. Louvered window openings line the top of the concrete block walls below the roofline on the north and south elevations. On the principal west elevation, the same louvered openings flank a wide projecting bay at the center of the concrete block wall, which extends to the full height of the roof. A single door within the bay’s recessed opening provides access to a maintenance room. Single door entrances to the restrooms are situated within the porches. High louvered wood screens enclose the porches, which are open to the west, and continue across the ends of the rear east elevation. The wide concrete block wall at the center of the east elevation extends to the full height of the roof and contains a large louvered opening. Plywood panels cover the openings below the roofline on either side of the center wall. This well-maintained building retains very excellent physical integrity.

Detail for Woodland Park AVE / Parcel ID 0725049002 / Inv # DPR053

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

Photo collection for Woodland Park AVE / Parcel ID 0725049002 / Inv # DPR053

Photo taken Nov 03, 2000
App v2.0.1.0