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Summary for 5817 SW Lander ST SW / Parcel ID 0148000005 / Inv # DPR002

Historic Name: Alki Playfield Comfort Station Common Name:
Style: Vernacular Neighborhood: Admiral
Built By: Year Built: 1923
This simple wood-frame comfort station was constructed in 1923 but moved to its present location in 1930. Alki Beach first gained fame as the landing point of the Denny Party in 1851, however residential and commercial development was slow to come to West Seattle due to its topography and geographic isolation. This problem was partially solved with the establishment of ferry service from Seattle to the east shore of Duwamish Head in 1888. A trolley car line built on trestles replaced the ferry in 1902, and was later extended over a trestle from Duwamish Head to the meadows near Alki Point. With improved access, West Seattle developed rapidly and was eventually annexed in 1907. The same year, Luna Park, Seattle’s "Coney Island of the West," opened for business at the point of Duwamish Head. For the next six years, Luna Park enticed people with thrilling rides, garish amusements, a dance hall, a natatorium, and a large and well-stocked bar until its closure in 1913. The attractions of Luna Park increased interest in a public park at Alki Beach. The 1908 Olmsted Supplemental Plan proposed a Duwamish Head Parkway as part of the Seattle boulevard system and an Alki Point Park on the south side of the point as part of the park system. The Plan also included the creation of a Schmitz Park near Alki Point, forty acres of which had recently been donated to the city. In 1903, the city had hired the Olmsted Brothers to prepare plans for a comprehensive park and boulevard system, including suggestions for improvements to existing parks. This was supplemented by an additional report in 1908 to include the large areas annexed by the city the previous year. Implementation of the report began almost immediately, however not always as envisioned by the Olmsteds. In 1910, the city acquired ten acres of dry and tidal lands between 58th and 65th Avenues SW and created Alki Beach Park. Nearby, a four-acre meadow along 59th Avenue SW was acquired the same year and developed as Alki Playfield. Schmitz Boulevard was created in 1908 as the entrance to Schmitz Park, and began at the southeast corner of the playfield site. Two years later, the Seattle School District built Alki Elementary School across the street from the south end of the playfield. By 1914, the northern end of the sandy meadow had been filled and graded, and tennis courts, and play equipment had been installed along with an athletic field. Three years later, the south end was filled and graded as well. In 1923, a typical wood-frame comfort station was constructed on the eastern side of the playfield along 58th Avenue SW. Seven years later, it was moved to the northern end of the playfield, closer to the tennis courts and the children’s play area. Although modest in design and materials, this building may be the only early wood-frame comfort station still extant and in use. The others have since been replaced with more durable masonry structures. This building is significant for its design and for its associations with the development of the Alki neighborhood and Alki Playfield.
Completed in 1923 but moved to its present location in 1930, this one-story wood frame comfort station occupies a site at the northern end of Alki Playfield, which is bounded by 58th and 59th Avenues SW and SW Lander and SW Stevens Streets. The small side gable building has a rectangular plan and rests on a poured concrete foundation. The Vernacular building displays some Craftsman stylistic details, including wide bargeboards and kneebraces supporting the overhanging gable ends. Large cedar shakes cover all but the south elevation, which is clad with vertical boards. These claddings cover the original wood shingle exterior. Covered by a standing seam metal roof, the building faces south towards a large grassy field and contains a women’s restroom at the eastern end and a men’s restroom at the western end. Single door entrances to the restrooms are situated at either end of the principal south elevation. An additional door at the center of this elevation provides access to a maintenance room. Each restroom has a small louvered opening adjacent to the entrance on the south elevation and two additional openings on the adjacent end wall as well as one on the rear north elevation. The north elevation also has a multi-paned wood sash window at the center. The building has good physical integrity despite the cladding alterations and deteriorated wood in places.

Detail for 5817 SW Lander ST SW / Parcel ID 0148000005 / Inv # DPR002

Status: Yes - Inventory
Classication: Building District Status:
Cladding(s): Shingle, Vertical - Boards, Wood Foundation(s): Concrete - Poured
Roof Type(s): Gable Roof Material(s): Metal - Standing Seam
Building Type: Other Plan: E-Shaped
Structural System: Balloon Frame/Platform Frame No. of Stories: one
Unit Theme(s): Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Community Planning/Development, Entertainment/Recreation
Changes to Original Cladding: Extensive
Changes to Plan: Intact
Changes to Windows: Intact
Major Bibliographic References
Sherwood, Don. Seattle Parks Histories, c. 1970-1981, unpublished.
Seattle Department of Parks. Annual report/Department of Parks. Seattle, WA: 1909-1955.
Erigero, Patricia. Seattle Public Schools Historic Building Survey Summary Report. Seattle, WA: Historic Seattle PDA, 1990.

Photo collection for 5817 SW Lander ST SW / Parcel ID 0148000005 / Inv # DPR002

Photo taken Nov 04, 2000
App v2.0.1.0