THEME WEEK: Seattle History! This week we touch on a handful of people and places from Seattle’s history.
WPA workers building stairway at Golden Gardens, 1936 (by Seattle Municipal Archives)
Seattle was not immune to the effects of the Great Depression, and the many strikes during that time cost Seattle, among other things, much of its maritime traffic and shipbuilding contracts. Fortunately, some of the funds earmarked for the new Works Progress Administration made its way to Seattle, which the city used for, among other things, expansion and construction of its large parks system.
One of the parks that benefitted was Ballard’s Golden Gardens park. Named and developed by wealthy Queen Anne businessman Harry W. Treat in 1907, it was intended as an “attraction” at the end of the new electric car lines being built by him and his fellow real estate moguls to convince citizens to get out of town and to the beach — seeing some of the beautiful real estate available along the way. Originally reachable by a difficult, winding path down to the beach, or by country road for those who could afford a car, one of the city’s WPA projects involved the construction of a set of stairs, still in use today. The local community would go on to fund other WPA projects themselves, including the construction of a Model Yacht Basin.