Volunteer Park (Seattle)

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Volunteer Park
Volunteer Park Seward.jpg
Location Between E. Prospect and E. Galer Sts., and Federal and E. 15th Aves., Seattle, Washington
Area 48.4 acres (19.6 ha)
Built 1901
Architectural style Moderne (art museum)
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 76001894[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 3, 1976
Designated SEATL November 2011[2]

Volunteer Park is a 48.3-acre (19.5 ha) park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, USA.


Volunteer Park was acquired by the city of Seattle for $2,000 in 1876 from J.M. Colman. In 1885 it was designated a cemetery, but two years later it was named "Lake View Park," and Lake View Cemetery was developed on an adjacent plot of land. The park then became known as "City Park." In 1901, it was renamed "Volunteer Park" to honor the volunteers who served in the Spanish–American War. J. Willis Sayre, a Seattle theatre critic, journalist, and historian, who had fought in the war, had actively lobbied local officials to rename this park. From 1904 to 1909, the Olmsted Brothers prepared formal plans for the park.[3]


Volunteer Park Reservoir, 2015
Volunteer Park Water Tower, Seattle, WA

The park includes a conservatory (a designated city landmark[4]), completed in 1912; a water tower with an observation deck, built by the Water Department in 1906,[5] a fenced-off reservoir; the dramatic Art Deco building of the Seattle Asian Art Museum (a designated city landmark[6]); a statue of William Henry Seward; a memorial to Judge Thomas Burke;[7] and a sculpture, Black Sun, by Isamu Noguchi (colloquially referred to as "The Doughnut") around which a scenic view of the Seattle skyline that prominently includes the Space Needle can be seen, as well as several meadows and picnic tables. The wading pool is operational in the summer months and operated daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Volunteer Park is also well known for its extensive dahlia garden in season. There are also Koi ponds at the park which contain fish during the summer months.


The park hosts various free concerts and outdoor theater events throughout the summer.[8]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ Community Advocacy: Volunteer Park Seattle Landmark Designation, Historic Seattle, undated (part of 2012 Awards list). Accessed online 2012-12-10
  3. ^ http://www.cityofseattle.net/parks/parkspaces/volpark.htm, retrieved 2009-09-06  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Landmarks Alphabetical Listing for V, Individual Landmarks, Department of Neighborhoods, City of Seattle. Accessed 28 December 2007.
  5. ^ http://www.seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?id=399#about
  6. ^ Landmarks Alphabetical Listing for S, Individual Landmarks, Department of Neighborhoods, City of Seattle. Accessed 28 December 2007.
  7. ^ Volunteer Park, Seattle Parks and Recreation (official site). Accessed 2015-09-13.
  8. ^ http://www.volunteerparktrust.org/calendar.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°37′49.5″N 122°18′56.1″W / 47.630417°N 122.315583°W / 47.630417; -122.315583