New HistoryLink: Washington Park Arboretum

Image: Seattle PI Collection, MOHAI

Image: Seattle PI Collection, MOHAI

HistoryLink has published another new neighborhood article, this time on the Washington Park Arboretum. A few highlights…

The park was planned as part of the city’s first Bicycle Master Plan, at a time when 1 of 5 Seattleites traveled by bike:

George F. Cotterill (1865-1958), then an assistant city engineer, laid out a system of bicycle trails in the city to serve the riders of the estimated 10,000 bicycles in Seattle (with a population of slightly more than 55,000 in 1898). One of the bike paths started at the top of Capitol Hill near Volunteer Park and traveled down the hill through the Interlaken area and into Washington Park.

Azalea Way was once full of horses:

The Speedway, a 40-foot-wide, dirt-covered roadway in the middle of the park, was built in 1907 for horse racing. Before cars became ubiquitous in the 1910s, the Speedway and stables that a racing club built were regularly filled with horses, drivers, and spectators for harness races.

The 520 on and off ramps were supposed to be temporary:

The ramps onto and exiting the highway were connected to Lake Washington Boulevard as a temporary measure until the expressway, named the R. H. Thomson Expressway in honor of a longtime, influential city engineer, could be constructed. The Seattle Times reported in 1963, as the new highway and bridge across the lake opened, that “the portion of Lake Washington Boulevard East through the Arboretum will be used as a temporary access route.”

Read the whole article here.