Waterfront Park (Seattle)
Waterfront Park is a public park on the Central Waterfront, Downtown, Seattle, Washington, USA. Designed by the Bumgardner Partnership and consultants, it was constructed on the site of the former Schwabacher Wharf (Pier 58).
History of the site
In its early years, the pier then known variously as Schwabacher Wharf, Schwabacher's Wharf, Schwabacher Dock, etc. was the location of two prominent events in the city's history. The freighter Miike Maru opened Seattle's Japan trade by docking there August 31, 1896. Less than a year later, July 17, 1897, the steamship Portland arrived from Alaska bearing a "ton of gold", from the Klondike. The ensuing Yukon Gold Rush formed strong bonds between Seattle and Alaska, and brought enormous wealth to Seattle as the "Gateway to Alaska".
This portion of Seattle's waterfront was used by the military during World War II. By 1960, the Central Waterfront was beginning to take on its current recreational character, as shipping moved primarily to the container port in the Industrial District south of Downtown.
In 1968, King County voters approved a bond issue to acquire the land for the park, which was matched by federal money and augmented several other sources including Model Cities programs, and donations.
The park extends from the privately owned Pier 57 to Pier 59, an official city landmark that is the site of the Seattle Aquarium. One of the entrances to the Aquarium is from a viewing platform in the park. The park viewing platforms can be reached both by stairs and a wheelchair-accessible ramp. The park also features coin-operated telescopes, benches, picnic tables, and some trees in planters. Near the south end of the park, a somewhat larger than life bronze abstract statue of Christopher Columbus gazes out at the water. Near the picnic tables is Waterfront Fountain, made of cubes cast and welded bronze. The sculpture was work in progress by artist James FitzGerald at the time of his death. In collaboration with his widow, Margaret Tompkins, it was completed by Terry Copple.
- The History of Pier 57, pier57seattle.com. Accessed online October 14, 2008.
- Waterfront Park, Seattle Parks and Recreation. Accessed online October 20, 2008.
- Paul Dorpat, Seattle Central Waterfront Tour, Part 2: From Coal to Containers, Piers 46, 47, and 48, HistoryLink, March 24, 2000. Accessed online October 18, 2008.
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