It was a wonderful convergence of a beautiful day and a hearty group of volunteers at the Crown Hill Natural Area on December 4. Fourteen members of the UW National Honor Society came out to refurbish the ADA walkway, clear the trails of debris, cut back overgrown shrubs, and pick up litter in the natural area at the end of 19th Avenue NW at NW 89th Street. Joyce Ford and Nancy Gruber have been the stalwart neighbors leading periodic work parties to take care of this little haven for birds, wildlife, and people enjoying a moment with nature.
The Crown Hill Natural Area was acquired by Seattle Parks in 1998. For a bit of history of this former Victory Garden, read this article from the Ballard News-Tribune of March 18, 1998.
Recently Small Faces completed work on a grant to install a new play structure in the playground area. This is Phase 1 of a plan to revitalize the playground area. The playground and new structure are open to the public when Small Faces is not using them. Crown Hill Center/Small Faces are asking folk to complete a survey to be sure that the new Crown Hill Center Playground reflects the interests and needs of the Crown Hill Community at large. Please take a few moments to answer the four question survey here. Thanks!
Seattle Parks and Recreation Acting Superintendent Christopher Williams has named two new parks in the Ballard area, and re-named a playfield in West Seattle.
Crown Hill Park
This park, located at Holman Road NW and 13th Avenue NW, will include ballfield renovations, walkways, entries, open space, areas for play, seating, and plantings. It is located on property recently purchased from the Seattle Public Schools.
Parks originally worked on developing the property into a park through the 2000 Pro Parks Levy, but the project was put on hold in 2006 after Seattle Public Schools declared the Crown Hill School and adjacent land a surplus, and put it up for sale. The City of Seattle purchased the property in March 2009 for $5.4 million. The project is now getting underway again.
This 1.71-acre acquisition fulfills one of Crown Hill’s longstanding community goals in its neighborhood plan. The 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy development funding of $1.2 million will contribute to completing the design and construction of the park. Construction is projected for spring 2011, with an anticipated completion in the fall of 2011.
In the same press release, it was revealed the other new park in Ballard (former site of the Church of Seventh Elect in Spiritual Israel, 7028 9th Ave NW) has been designated “Kirke,” which means “Church” in Norwegian.
On the crisp, clear afternoon of December 7, 1924, ships passing through Puget Sound on their way to Elliott Bay were treated to a surprise: On a ridge high above the Sound, just north of Seattle, a new 600-square-foot American flag had been hoisted. The impressive symbol, meant to be the “first sight of Seattle” for ships bound for Elliott Bay, marked the official opening of the new Olympic Golf and County Club.
Golf Club Manager Douglas McLeod McMillin and Club President William M. Bolcom had the honor of hoisting the flag for the first time to the top of its 118-foot pole next to the new club house located at about 20th Ave. NW and NW 89th Street. The flag’s inauguration took place in front of about a hundred spectators, many of whom were visiting the new golf course for the first time.
Work on the new course began in May of 1924 on the picturesque site. Architect Francis James actively oversaw the work, and while Bolcom was publicly dedicated to opening the course to golfers in late fall, James was less convinced that the deadline could be met. But in late October of 1924, the new course was unofficially opened to the public – ahead of schedule.
The 18-hole course, at the time just north of the Seattle city limits, was an L-shaped property that stretched east to west from 15th Ave. NW to 24th Ave. NW. Its longest north-to-south line was on its west side, where it stretched from NW 95th Street to NW 85th Street.
Bing’s Favorite Swing
The course was designed to challenge seasoned golfers, and it attracted many legends and pioneers of the sport: Tommy Armour, aka “The Silver Scot,” winner of the 1927 U.S. Open and the 1931 British Open; Macdonald “Mac” Smith, whose full-swing technique Bing Crosby admired; Johnny Farrell, winner of the 1928 U.S. Open; and Horton Smith, who in 1934 was the first winner of the new Augusta National Invitation Tournament, later named The Masters Tournament.
Perhaps the club’s most notable visitor was the charismatic and impeccably dressed Walter “The Haig” Hagen, five-time PGA Championship winner who, in 1922, was the first native-born American to win the British open. But more important to some local fans, in 1929 Hagen broke the Olympic Golf Club mark by scoring a 68 while paired with Horton Smith in an exhibition match against the club professional and an ace amateur.
In August 2009 we published a tree survey questionnaire here. We got quite a few responses, but we’re looking for more. Our grant proposal is currently being reviewedhas been approved for funding by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. If approved, We will contract with an arborist to survey the neighborhood for trees, but Crown Hill is a large area to survey, and we can ensure the trees we think are significant are looked at by the arborist by identifying as many as possible ahead of time. We’ll be sponsoring a neighborhood walk in September 2010, and publishing a push-pin type map (similar to the one below) showing the trees. Please take a look around and submit trees you think are significant whether they are in your yard, a neighbors yard, a public space. UPDATE (May 2010): Our grant proposal was approved for funding by the DON. The questionnaire is still open, so take a look at the updated map below and submit more trees. Thanks