But it hasn’t always been there. From the park brochure:
Roosevelt’s New Deal Works Progress Administration paid workers to move the Chuckanut sandstone arches from a downtown burned-out building to the park. In 1939 the sandstone was used to construct the landmark stone bridge.
Now I want to see a photo of what these arches looked like as a building. A tough task, but I was able to track down some info here that the stones came from the old Pike Building. Then, in reading about Willetta Esther Riddle Gayton, the first African American professional librarian in Seattle, I saw that when she was a child, her dad….
…found employment as a custodian for the Puget Sound Power and Light Company building. This building was built in 1891 as a bank and known as the Pike Building. In 1912 it became the Puget Sound Traction Light and Power Building and by 1919 it was the Puget Sound Power and Light Company. Here at 301 East Holly, little Willetta remembered happy days living in one of the second-floor apartments in the building and looking down over a railing at the activity on the business floor.
But the bridge is just one of many features of this large park. There are multiple play areas, a fish hatchery, and miles of trails. They also have a fishing pond just for fisher people 14-years-old and younger.
The park brochure also says:
Fire devastated the park on June 10, 1999. A buried pipeline burst, spilling over 200,000 gallons of gasoline into Hannah and Whatcom Creeks. In 30 seconds, 1.5 miles of the creek’s riparian habitat burned. Flames shot 200 feet high; smoke rose five miles into the sky, and three young lives were lost.
Wow! It was really interesting to read the details of the disaster, including this about the three victims:
The first victim was Liam Gordon Wood, age 18, who was fly fishing in Whatcom Creek when the rupture occurred. According to Whatcom County Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel, Wood was overcome by noxious fumes, and fell into the creek and drowned prior to the explosion.
The other two victims, Wade King, 10, and Stephen Tsiorvas, 10, schoolmates at Roosevelt Elementary School, were playing north of the Hanna and Whatcom Creek confluence when the explosion occurred. The boys survived the blast but suffered second and third degree burns over 90 percent of their bodies. They were found immediately and flown to the intensive-care burn unit at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Tragically, the boys died the following day, on June 11, 1999.
There are a lot of great photos of the event & restoration effort here. The effects can still be seen to this day, but it is encouraging to see the progress that vigilant citizens have made in the rebirth of this ecosystem.
And then there are other lesser-known treasures in this park, like this, um, this….thing. I’m not sure what it is exactly. It’s a little outhouse-sized building that looks to be about the same age as the bridge. All identifying marks have been covered by years of graffiti, and it isn’t labeled on any map I saw. I suppose it’s nice that some things are still left up to the imagination.