Posted in Alki History Trail

Capsizing – Alki Trail

To the north of Lincoln Park is a small road that the beach trail joins. This street with houses along the water and ends at another park call Lowman Beach Park.  Here is where the Alki History Trail takes us to next.

The guide calls it “Gwul” in the native language which stands for Capsizing. The fourth stop is described as:

This was a name for a creek that followed the same path as present day Lincoln Park Way. The name might have warned about strong currents.

The road down is a bit steep, so the creek that must have run there would be very swift and a canoe near impossible to ride down.

I don’t think the native people would recognize this area now.  The creek no longer exists but is part of the storm water drainage. The city has grown up around the area and we rightfully should be concerned about the pollution we cause. So, it has been under construction for 3 years installing an underground water retention tank to protect Puget Sound from our run-off. The feature image above was from a 2012 photo I took around King Tides. The phrase on the sea wall is quite poetic.

But back to construction with the following photos of Lowman Beach today.

Lowman Beach looking up Fauntleroy Way
Lowman Beach looking up Fauntleroy Way
Lowamn Construction
Lowman Construction
Lost truck in midst of construction
Lost truck in midst of construction

Here is what the city said about this project back in late 2013.

King County is going to build a one-million gallon underground storage tank across from Lowman Beach Park on Beach Drive Southwest in West Seattle. The facility will help clean up Puget Sound by storing excess sewage and polluted storm water during storms that would otherwise overflow into Puget Sound.

If you get down on the beach with the construction trailers behind your back there is a bit of nature to be found.

Peaceful Beach
Peaceful Beach

The view to the north shows how developed the area is now with houses lining the Puget Sound. Check out Alki Lighthouse in the distance.

North view from beach at Lowman Park
North view from beach at Lowman Park

To the South you can see Lincoln Park and Coleman Pool. I captured a ferry coming into the dock behind Williams Point. Gives one an interesting perspective.

Ferry & Coleman Pool view from Lowman
Ferry & Coleman Pool view from Lowman
Peak-a-boo ferry behind Coleman Pool – Lincoln Park

Most of these photos were from this fall. In the last week after Christmas I had returned to continue my walk north. Since my first visit the construction has moved into the finishing stage with landscaping and cleanup beginning.


I have to tell a little happy story that occurred as I walked along the beach trail in Lincoln Park and the road to Lowman. On top of a cement drainage lid I saw a very new shiny copper penny someone had positioned to stand up. They wedged it into the screw top there.

Shiny Penny on trail
Shiny Penny on trail

I was fascinated by this penny in the middle of a natural setting enough to photograph it. Then I wandered my way down the way, stopping at the beach and doing my usual investigations. A family with a small girl caught up with me. She was so excited because she had found something special. Guess what? It was the penny.  Oh what joy that random act of kindness in a shiny penny had given.

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

Posted in Alki History Trail

Trekking the Alki History Trail

Follow my adventure checking out the 24 stops on the “Alki History Trail”.

This fall I swung by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society Log Cabin Museum. They were closed but I found this little brochure. It was right up my alley with a self-guided tour of Alki area historical points of interest.


Thank You to the Alki Community Council and the SW Seattle Historical Society for preparing this gem for us to enjoy.

Here are the individual articles of my trek. Come back for more as I weave my way along the history trail.

Psal-YAH-hus  or “Horned Snake Owns It” – The first stop is a rock off of the Vashon Ferry Dock at Fauntleroy Cove.  To this day I still have not seen it and read more on why that is a good thing. – Horned Snake Owns It – Alki Trail #1

Dxkasus or “It has a Scorched Face On It” – Right across the street from the dock is the second stop.  Two little parks on a bluff that some think had a sooty look to it. – It has a Scorched Face on it – Alki Trail #2

Chi-HA-ee-dus or “Crowded Head” – Lincoln Park at Williams Point has a salt water pool that was built in 1941 on the natural tidal pool that both the native americans and early settlers used. – Crowded Head – Alki Trail #3

Gwul or “Capsizing” – Lowman Beach Park where at one time a creek flowed down Lincoln Park Way. Lot of change here with construction to protect Puget Sound from water run off. Plus a random act of kindness to enjoy. – Capsizing – Alki Trail #4

TUS-bud or “Cold Weather House” – the destination was not very exciting since it had changed so much but the trek there had interesting sights and history.  Cold Weather House – Alki Trail #5

Inbetween – The Between is about a mile of Beach Drive from “Cold Weather House” which is at Shore Place and the next stop at Weather Watch Park.   The Between

Weather Watch Park – Village of South Alki of over 100 years ago. It was serviced by the Mosquito Fleet which had a dock where the park is today. Weather Watch Park – Alki Trail #6

Chillberg School – The first Alki Elementary was here but you would not know it. 100 years changes a lot. Chillberg School – Alki Trail #7

Sea View Hall – One of the last orginal log houses from the days Alki being a beach destination. Sea View Hall – Alki Trail #8



Posted in Alki History Trail

Crowded Head – Alki Trail

Lincoln Park, a large forested city park that faces upon the Puget Sound, is our next stop (#3) on the Alki History Trail. Specifically Williams Point where Coleman Pool stands.

The guide tells us the following:

This name referred to the thick brush that covered the small lagoon. Indigenous place names were very practical in their descriptions of Alki’s geography.

Coleman pool was built in 1941 and donated to the city by the Coleman Family who were one of the first families to settle in the Fauntleroy area. This was after the WPA, CWA and CCC’s helped develop Lincoln Park in the 1930s by clearing underbrush, building trails, seawalls, playgrounds and tennis courts. This lovely rare salt water pool still exists 75 years later. Here is a sign posted by the Whale Trail group. It tells a little bit of the  history around the area and the whales that pass by.


Historically, the area was used by the Native Americans and where the pool stands was a natural tide pool swimming hole.  The Southwest Historical Society has some information about the area that gives you some more color to the area.

Native Americans appreciated and used Fauntleroy Cove well before white pioneers arrived. A 1915 excavation to widen Fauntleroy Way uncovered evidence of an ancient Native American burial ground near where Fauntleroy Creek flows into Puget Sound. Local residents have found middens of clamshells indicating that Fauntleroy Cove had been a Native American clamming and fishing site into the 19th Century.

At a very low tide one can still see what Native Americans call a ‘spirit boulder’ south of the ferry dock. Native Americans claim that the boulder, Psai-Yah-hus, is the dormant spirit that lives underground and caused landslides and earthquakes. The boulder, slides and quakes are still with us. The Native Americans have long since been gone from the cove.

The mention of the burial grounds near where the creek flows into the sound helps you understand more about why they called the bluff “It has Scorched Face on it” (#2 stop on the Alki History Trail). Until I did this research I thought it was the color of the bluff that we cannot see but now I think it was the ashes on mourners faces.

Another set of clues are here in this quote about the red spirit boulder I can’t seem to find. It is only visible at “Very” low tide. It also talks about how the spirit causes landslides and earthquakes.  Yikes!!  Do I really want to find this special place?

To give you an idea of what the natural salt water pool surrounded by brush might have looked like, while at Discovery Park I took this photo of a tidal pool surrounded by brush. Crowded Head does explain this look don’t you think?

Discovery Park Tidal Pool - example of Crowded Head
Discovery Park Tidal Pool – example of Crowded Head

To make this story complete I have to share the two bird encounters along the way to Coleman pool. First one of my crow family on the driftwood with the Vashon Ferry in the background.

dscn0595The second is a little Anna Hummingbird in the bushes next to the pool building.

Hummingbird hanging out

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

Posted in Alki History Trail

It has a Scorched Face on It – Alki Trail

Right across from the supernatural boulder I have difficulty finding is the second stop on the Alki History Trail. It is called “Dxkasus” in the local Native American tongue.  This can be found on Map C if you want to get orientated and go check it out.

Map from Alki History Trail
Map from Alki History Trail

Here is what the guide says I am looking for – Fauntleroy Cove (knoll east of the Vashon Ferry Dock). It also gives us some information on why it is was called “It has a Scorched Face on it”.

This name may describe the dark stains visible on the bluffs above or it might refer to the ashes smeared on the faces of natives grieving for their buried dead.

This is an odd little area that overlooks the ferry dock. It has two small parks wedged between the bluff and the street that parrallels Fauntleroy Way below. This photo below which is a snip from Google street view gives you an idea of the area. We have developed the area so much there is very little exposed bluff remaining to see if there are dark stains.


At the south end (closest in the snip) is a park with art around the salmon that run up the Fauntleroy Creek. The creek goes under the road in several places. If you follow it to the east you will run into Fauntleroy Park which is a natural area preserved around the creek’s ravine/gully.



Fish swiming over Fauntleroy Creek Ravine
Fish swimming over Fauntleroy Creek Ravine

As you walk to the north, you will find the small park that someone has named Captain’s Park.

Captain's Park & Bird House
Captain’s Park & Bird House

I don’t see it on the city map but it clearly has been there for a while. It has old time benches and a nice view of the dock.

View from bluff of park and street
View from bluff of park and street

The best part is the bird houses and a monkey statue hanging from a tree.



Monkey Business hung in park
Monkey Business hung in park








Rambling without technology always bring sights one might miss in a car. This little excursion did not disappoint. Besides the lovely tree houses and the monkey there was a bright red flower on a bench at the bus stop.

Flower at Fauntleroy Bus Stop
Flower at Fauntleroy Bus Stop
Dazzling Red Flower on metal
Dazzling Red Flower on metal

Oh can’t put a good word in for my black feathered friends. Here they are on the dock railing. What a great place to live and forage.

Crows hanging out at Ferry Dock
Crows hanging out at Ferry Dock

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

Posted in Alki History Trail

Horned Snake Owns It – Alki Trail


Welcome to my new series which follows along a brochure I found at the Southwest Historical Socity. Above is a photo of the front cover with Cheif Sealth (we are named after him) and the schooner Exact (it brought the some of the first pioneers to Seattle in November 1851).

The first stop on the Alki History Trail is called by the local Native Americans  “Psal-YAH-hus.


I live up the hill from the Ferry Dock, so I parked at Lincoln Park and trekked south.  Here is what the guide says I am looking for – Red boulder about 100 yards south of the Vashon Ferry Dock at the waterline.

This is what it tells us about this boulder:

For the natives, supernatural forces existed in the Puget Sound. This “Spirit Boulder” was inhabited or guarded by an elk-like serpent with horns. If natives caught sight of it, the serpent could either twist their bodies into knots, or offer healing powers. Superstitious or fearful, the natives chose not to look at it!

Off I went on my brave mission to view the supernatural rock. I walked down the north side of the dock into Cove Park. I figured I could walk under the dock and head south. This part of the beach I need to access is bordered by private homes and that is the easiest access for me.

The tide had gone out and was just starting back in. It wasn’t a very low tide and to my disappointment there was no red boulder to be seen. Could it be my guardian spirits protecting me from looking at the “Horned Snake Owns It” and getting twisted up?

Site of "Horned Snake Owns It". Tide not low enough!
Site of “Horned Snake Owns It”. Tide not low enough!

I returned days later thinking the tide was out far enough but again I left with no picture of the red spirit boulder. That was back in September and early October. Every weekend I have been checking the tides and they are timed so the lowest tides are in the middle of the night.

Not a very great way to start my trek but it does lend a bit of mystery to things.

However, on the good side, I did find a flock of crows and got this great shot of underside of the pier. Several of these photos I used in an article on the Fauntleroy Crows and the elusive red boulder.


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

Posted in History and other topics

West Point Lighthouse

Discovery Park continues to give me new things to see. Just off a very busy thoroughfare is this jewel of a park. Take the trail down to the beach and you will find not just shoreline but also an 1881 Lighthouse. These first three photos show you how it appears amidst the driftwood as you walk north along the beach.

West Point Lighthouse in distance
Driftwood house and lighthouse at Discovery Park
1881 West Point Lighthouse on Puget Sound

This little jewel takes one back in time to a place where Seattle was the middle of nowhere and most everything came by ship.

West view of lighthouse with path back to keeper housing
West Point Lighthouse Keeper houses – facing east
Keeper Houses with bell at West Point


It is built at the north end of Puget Sound’s Elliott Bay to guide vessels to Seattle and further down the sound. It cost us only 25 thousand dollars in its day. Seems like a bargain but that is apx 610 thousand in today’s money.

At only 25 feet it was the first manned lighthouse on the sound. It used a Fresnel Lens lit with kerosene  lamp until it was electrified in 1926. In 1985 it was the last lighthouse in the area to be automated.

South side of lighthouse in Discovery Park
Not very tall but equipped with powerful light
Green door leads into the lighthouse
Peek into the lighthouse and it is full of machinery
Office door at the Lighthouse garages
West Point Lighthouse garages

Now it is a National Register of Historic Place (designated in 1977). The city of Seattle Parks gained custody of the buildings in 2004 and completed a restoration in the last 10 years.

I leave you with one last photo of this little lighthouse that does so much. It is looking south with a sailboat rounding the point.

West Point Lighthouse from north end of Discovery Park


Posted in History and other topics

Lake Washington Blvd of Old

Found this new treasure to add to my Lake Washington Floating Bridge postcard collection. This pictures Lake Washington Blvd and Mt Rainier in 1914, which is south of the I-90 Floating bridge.  (refer to my earlier post  –  I have pinpointed that this is now where the hydroplane race pits are for Seafair each year.  It is called Stan Sayres Park.  Here is an excerpt from the Seattle Park Department on the park. A history moment for sure.

Stan Sayres Park is located on a fairly “new” peninsula created when Lake Washington was lowered in 1917 by the creation of the Ship Canal. Throughout most of the year Stan Sayres was above water, however, it could easily get swamped and surrounded by water as the lake rose during the rainy season. Therefore, additional fill material had to be added when the peninsula was developed as a hydroplane race site. Stan Sayers park was named in 1957 after hydroplane driver Stanley S. Sayres (1896-1956). Sayres is known as the person who brought hydroplane racing to Seattle after he won the Gold Cup in Detroit in 1950. Previously there had not been a hydroplane race west of Detroit. In his unlimited class powerboat named Slo-Mo-Shun IV, Stan Sayres won five Gold Cups and set a speed record of 178.48 mph.

Lk Washington Blvd - Seattle -1914 Postcard
Lk Washington Blvd – Seattle -1914 Postcard
Lk WA Blvd 1914 postcard back - postmarked 1922
Lk WA Blvd 1914 postcard back – postmarked 1922
Posted in History and other topics

Seattle Malting & Brewing – Rainier Beer Roots

Last weekend I went to an estate sale published to be in the Old Rainier Brewery.  I went to this sale just because I wanted to investigate the old Georgetown brewing buildings.   They are that old red brick kind that go for blocks along Airport Way. I have memories of my mom going downtown before the freeway along this street and using it for years as a quick route north.  It was at one point 885 feet of old building right next to a two lane road.  It gave me childhood wonder of old things and history every time we went by.

I found after I drove around the buildings twice that the sale was in the next generation Rainier Brewery that was further north.  That is the building that many of us in Seattle know from the Big R on top of it beside the I-5 Freeway. In the end the sale was good because I found a couple of Worlds Fair items that were not advertised and even under priced.

However, today’s article is about the first brewery I went to, the Seattle Malting and Brewing Company. This was the roots of Rainier Beer and a huge operation in its day.


According to History Link.Org and Paul Dorpat these buildings were built around 1900. The brewery by 1904 was the largest brewery west of the Mississippi River and with addition upon addition through 1912 it became “world class” – the sixth largest in the world. For a time before Washington State introduced prohibition in 1916, the Georgetown brewery was the largest industrial establishment in the state of Washington.  Here is a link to read a little bit more on the brewery and a picture taken by Asahel Curtis when it was still a new building.


This photo shows how the area has been revitalized with new businesses.  The Frans candy company has a lovely boutique type sales area with manufacturing behind it.  I saw a small box for sale at the grocery store later that day and we loved the salted caramels.


This next photo is a good past and present.  See the old buildings embellishments next to a modern times outdoor light.   Even that light isn’t that new but in comparison it is a late comer.


The back of any place has some dirty underwear showing.  Check out the over 100-year-old stairway with a ladder for easy access.

Hope you enjoyed a little Seattle history.




Posted in History and other topics

Lake Washington Floating Bridge via a Gate

Gate of Dreams
Gate of Dreams

Today I went to two estate sales close to a set of bridges that are called several names –  I-90 Bridges, Lake Washington Floating Bridges, Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Floating Bridge.  This gate took me to a very eclectic sale and a gentleman who told me a few historical facts about the bridges.   We had a good discussion about how the street he lived on used to be an entrance to the original tunnels & floating bridge.  He told me that down at the end of the street were some old pieces of that bridge.  So, I took my trusty camera with me & took some photos.

There is quite a bit of history about these bridges that date back almost 100 years when it was first conceived in the 1920s..  The first bridge was built & opened in 1940 and their portal into Seattle’s downtown was a pair of soft bore tunnels.  They are called the Mt. Baker Tunnels after the neighborhood they go under.  Here is a photo from the City of Seattle Photo vault showing them under construction.

Mt Baker Tunnels 1939 City of Seattle Record
Mt Baker Tunnels 1939 City of Seattle Record

The original bridge has been gone since it sunk dramatically in a 1990 storm.  It was under repair and it took on water because of some mistakes made by the construction company.   That bridge has been replaced and another built along side it.  They also built another tunnel next to the twin tunnels.  This was one of the final pieces of Interstate 90 that crosses the United States from sea to sea.   I believe the last true link is in Wallace Idaho where a traffic light there was finally bypassed in 1991.

I have some connection to this bridge from in the early 1970s when my first husband, his brother and wife and I lived in an old house that was on the Mercer Island side of the bridge.  It had been bought in preparation of the I-90 widening and finishing.  However, due to litigation, the construction was delayed for years.  So, we got to rent this lovely old gem.

Two memories stand out the most.   One was a wet slippery snow fall that hit Seattle.   At that end of the bridge it rises up from the lake quite a bit.  Remember it is a floating bridge resting down on the lake but had to have a normal bridge structure at each end.   That was where people were getting stuck.  This was the old 4 lane non-divided highway type of road.  Not like today where we have freeway here.   So, we went down on the bridge and started pushing cars up the grade.  Never could do that today!!

The second was a terrible accident that happened at the bulge.  The bulge was a curved area that allowed the bridge to open for boat traffic.   The new bridges do not have this ability but the old one did.  The traffic not only was not divided but it went straight across the lake, then zagged to the right and zigged back to the left.  Then it got straight again before it headed up to Mercer Island. This zigging & zagging caused accidents all the time.  Lets face it the bridge was built in 1940 and traffic was certainly faster and heavier than then.  Not sure why but we had walked down there.  This one had a fatality.  I think we went there first to see if we could help like in the snow storm.  However, it was just so awful that 40 years later it is engraved in my brain.

On a lighter note this walk down memory lane also reminded me of some clothing I still have from an abandoned house above the twin tunnels.  We were “junkers” and made our living gathering all the things others left behind or threw away.  And believe me recycling was not a big thing even in the 70s.  So, we did good & paid the bills.  Plus our friends never wanted for baby clothing.

So, here are the photos I took today of this man-made wonder.  Hope you enjoy this little bit of history.

Mt Baker Tunnel from 35th Ave So Seattle
Mt Baker Tunnel from 35th Ave So Seattle
Tunnels from old entrance street
Tunnels from old entrance street
Plaque commemorating Bridge named for Lacey V Murrow.
Plaque commemorating Bridge named for Lacey V Murrow.
Art work on 1940 Mt Baker Twin Tunnels
Art work on 1940 Mt Baker Twin Tunnels – designed by artist James FitzGerald
Old Lk Washington Floating Bridge remnants
Old Lk Washington Floating Bridge remnants
Original Bridge Railing – see Postcard

Here is a postcard that I had in my collection.  It shows how there is an entrance right after the tunnels that are to the left of this photo/painting by Aschel Curtis.  Check out above how the railing on the right is still in the park I visited never moved.

Postcard 1940 Lk WA Bridge
Postcard 1940 Lk WA Bridge