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.
Seattle Parks and Recreation is seeking your voice on the design of the “Skatedot” at the newly christened Crown Hill Park. The skatedot is a 1500 sq. ft. feature to be located near the Southeast corner of the park. The skatedot will provide a much needed place for beginning to intermediate skateboarders to hone their skills. During the April 28th meeting, the skate feature was discussed in general terms, but specific details were deferred to a later time.
Please come and participate! No need to be a skateboarder or a parent of a skateboarder. This meeting is open to all. Pillar Design Studios, a nationally known skate park design firm, will be be leading this workshop.
Monday, August 2nd
Crown Hill Center
9250 14th Ave NW
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.
On April 28th, 2010, more than 50 community members gathered in room 4 of the Crown Hill Center (formerly Crown Hill Elementary School) to hear about, see and provide community input on the latest plans for the soon to be Crown Hill Park. Kim Baldwin, Pamela Alspaugh, and Shwu-Jen Hwang of the Seattle Parks and Recreation Dept presented the latest version of the schematic for the new park. Lynn Wirta (former director of Small Faces) presented the latest version of the schematic for the playground which will be on the adjoining Crown Hill Project/Small Faces property.
The last schematic (developed in 2006) was out of date, and needed to be updated to reflect the change in ownership of the park and school land. When the plan was last looked at, the future park land and buildings were owned by the Seattle School District. Subsequently, the School District surplussed the property and the Crown Hill Project acquired the building(s) and associated land on the northern portion, while the city acquired the actual park land on the southern portion. In the map below, the park property is shown in green while the Crown Hill Project property is shown in red and blue. Additionally, the project has suffered delays due to the temporary relocation of SFD Fire Station #35 to the southernmost portion of the property. The fire station will be relocating to its newly revamped headquarters in late summer or early fall, clearing the way for the development of the new park.