This week I saw on the morning news a piece on a DIY Skate-park built in Renton. As soon as I saw the pictures I knew exactly where it was. It is right under I-405 where the two Longacres Entrance Units still stand. Here is a link to my original article about a year and half ago. Longacres Relics
This is a pretty good place for the skaters. It is so noisy already under the freeway they are not bothering anyone, it is covered which they told me is rare, they have cleaned up after the homeless guys living there, and are providing a place to practice their skills.
The City of Renton and the Boeing Security crews have not seemed to be bothered by them but now the WDOT (Washington Dept of Transportation) have come a calling. This is on WDOT property without a permit and there is worry of liability issues.
On that morning news piece the word bulldozed was mentioned. That could happen as soon as a week. Yikes!! I got concerned because this is how good things get swept up into someone else’s trouble. That is right our 1960s Longacres Relics could be bulldozed too.
I have written to both the WDOT Maintenance Supervision, the Renton Museum, another historian I know and the TV station that aired the article. Do not want the units to become collateral damage.
Next I went down to the site on Saturday morning and had a great chat with the skaters. Here are some current photos of the entrance units
Plus I found out two things:
First that they are now working permits and insurance. The imminent bulldozing is not looming this week now.
Second and the most exciting for me is what they told me about the units. They have crawled up into the bowl to see if they could skate on them. The inside is too textured for that and they agree that they were probably planters due to the hole.
but wait for it….. there is a date stamped inside!! 1964. Mystery is now solved on when they were created. We were on the right trail. They came into being right after the freeway crossed over the old Longacres entrance. The racetrack was making a new pretty place to define their place.
Thank you to everyone again. This Longacres history has been a real adventure.
[…] Longacres Relic and the Skate-Park […]
I quite envy the work you’ve done here. Good on you.
Oh thank you so much. It is time consuming but I love the hunt and learning new things. Best of all I get to share it.
I have been skating at longacres as long as they have been building there and as soon as we found out about the history of the track we all took an interest in it and did our own little internet research. All the history of the horse track makes the diy park that much cooler!
Thanx for visiting my Longacres info. Keep up the good work to save both the skate park and the Longacres Relics. Spread the word!!
My compliments on your site. I found it while searching for aerial photos of this area. Growing up not far from Long Acres my memories go back to the late 50’s. The incongruous concrete structures actually supported a railroad bridge over Monster Rd. The original wood piers had reached the end of their life and were replaced by the concrete units in 1964. The line was owned by the Northern Pacific Ry and the station point where this line started near Long Acres was designated by the railroad as Black River. This section of the rr line was removed from Black River to Coulon Park in 1972. I will refer to the skate board park in the future as the Black River Skate Board Park, a tip of the hat to the Northern Pacific Ry which built your concrete units and the original rr line in the late 1800’s.
On your aerial photo page the second aerial photo clearly shows the Monster Rd bridge and the tracks curving towards Grady Way. So now you know that the structures had nothing to do with Long Acres race track.
When I was young the Robin was the most common bird in this area and Crows were much more rare to see. The crows ran them off to nearly the point of extinction to the casual observer.
Feel welcome to contact me if you would like a little more history pertaining to the area of the skate board park.
Thank you so much Kevin. This is great info and after a little close review of all the photos we certainly are getting closer to the answer.
You are 100% correct that the base of the two units are the old railroad underpass supports. At first I thought it was too far to the south of the freeway. However after examining the vintage photo and my current ones when I visited the skatepark one can see the widening of the freeway now has three pillars under the bridge instead of the two in the vintage view.
What I am still trying to get straight in my head are the two bowls on top of the supports. I just don’t think they would be part of what held up the railroad track. They must have been added after the RR was deconstructed in the 70s. That seemed logical but what about the date of 1964 inside them? Could they have been part of another entrance unit to the racetrack? Then added in the 1970s when things got reconfigured again?
Do you have any other vintage photo sources we can use? At one time I thought I found a set of I-405 construction but can’t seem to find them again on the ever growing internet searches.
Thanx again & it does take many pieces to solve a puzzle like the mysterious units under I-405 on Longacres Drive SW.
I have personally climbed atop The structures to skate the bowl, and can attest the date is 1964. However the date is not inside/on the concrete bowls, it is inscribed on the flat top of the concrete surface. The highest point that extends from the ground is inscribed with a somebody’s initials next to ‘1964’. I am the main curator of the Longacres skate spot and am currently working personally with wsdot on our lease agreement. If you would like to know more about our process, please email me at email@example.com. thank you foe the great articles!!
thanx Jack – I bet it was you I talked to almost a year ago. I drive by periodically on my way home to make sure that all is still good and WSDOT has not starting doing dumb things.
Hang in there!! Perseverance is a virtue and will get you there in the long run.