The #6 stop on the Alki History Trail is Weather Watch Park. I started this leg of the trek at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park where up in the back is the place Ferdinand & Emma Schmitz built their home in 1904.
They were pioneers from Duisburg, Germany, and named their 40 acre estate Sans Souci – “without worry.” They piped in water from hillside streams, kept a horse, cow, guinea hens and peacocks, stocked trout in a pond, tended elaborate gardens and an orchard, and raised four children. Emma was strongly opposed to tree removal, so when Ferdinand wanted to cut one down he waited until she’d gone to Seattle for the day. Her Spruce survives to this day.
They loved nature and donated 30 acres to the city in 1908 to form Schmitz Park. This is up on Admiral way quite a distance from their Beach Drive home. They wanted their land to be used as a park. Ferdinand moved to Seattle in 1887 and was the city’s Parks Commissioner from 1908 to 1914.
Pathfinders Elementary School installed the following plaques to commemorate the Schmitz’s and one of Chief Sealth’s quotes on the how the Duwamish view the land.
Across the street from this area on the water side is Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook.
As you can see it was windy enough to push the surf up against the bulkhead. Around the corner to the north is a set of stairs.
The water is rushing off in the photo above from the wave you can see in the next.
As I wandered up Beach Drive I found this old white cottage that the elements have worked on for a century. I thought it might be empty but it was not.
As I approached Weather Watch Park, I saw this red brick house on the water side of the street. It has all the appearance of an older building from the original community that grew up in this southern outpost of the city.
To my delight they had a plaque telling us how old the building was.
Then I was at the park. It has a weather-vane like monument with photos of the area’s history as well as weather related information.
Here is what the Alki History Trail brochure has to say:
This is the former location of the Village of South Alki. It was one of the landing pints for the Mosquito fleet, a fleet of passenger and cargo vessels that sailed the Puget Sound. The monument has stories of Native American history and early pioneer life. Featured are pictures of some of the old beach homes of Alki.
Here is a sampling of those photos.
Here is a current photo of the Market which is kitty corner to the park.
To the north of the park is another red brick old building. It does not have the historical marker like the O’Farrell House but you can see how it must be from the original business district.
Then there is a little beach that has been cleaned up. It is full of driftwood and one time I came by found a lady playing guitar by the water. Driftwood draws one into it and she was feeling it’s pull.
I have one more story to tell of Weather Watch Park. Back in 1990 I had found this flyer about how the park was going to be built. They were funding it by selling bricks around the monument. This excited me since I am a native of West Seattle and decided to buy my brick.
When I told David about this and was discussing what I wanted on the brick he said…. “Make it David & Robin Adams. We will be married by the time it is built”. You got it, that was how he proposed to me. And to this day the brick is in a great spot of honor there at the park.
Follow along on the trail by going to this directory of all 24 stops on the Alki History Trail at this link —-> Trekking the Alki History Trail