Featured Community: Seward Park-Beacon Hill

Seward Park covers 300 acres and is located in southeast Seattle in the neighborhood of the same name (map). The park occupies all of Bailey Peninsula, a forested peninsula and former island that juts into Lake Washington. It contains one of the last surviving tracts of old-growth forest within the city of Seattle. The park is named for former U.S. Secretary of State William Seward. Columbia City and surrounds, located just west of Seward Park, offers a variety of local restaurants.

By Dcoetzee via Wikimedia Commons
By Dcoetzee via Wikimedia Commons

One approaches the park from the north by Lake Washington Boulevard S, from the south by Seward Park Avenue S., or from the west by S Orcas Street. The main parking lot and a tennis court are located in the southwest corner. The most commonly used trail is a car-free loop around the park. It is flat and 2.4 miles long. The perimeter trail was repaved in 2007. Other trails run through the interior, including a few car-accessible roads that lead to amenities including an amphitheater and picnic area. Seward Park features numerous small beaches, the largest one on its southwest side, as well as a playground and an arts center. Both Seward Park and Beacon Hill are part of the Seattle School District.

Beacon Hill, in south Seattle (map), is comprised of four areas: North Beacon Hill, Mid-Beacon Hill, Holly Park and South Beacon Hill. It’s a neighborhood where professional people and blue collar workers still live side-by-side. Rather than being divisive, the economic diversity of Beacon Hill has brought the residents together, as they strive to keep the feel of the community intact. Still considered an affordable place to buy a home, the houses possess unique character. In North Beacon Hill area, there are nice examples of the Seattle Box style home and quality Craftsman-style bungalows. The Pacific Medical Center, also located in North Beacon Hill, is an Art Deco style building that used to serve as Amazon’s world headquarters and has been a national landmark since 1979. The Seattle Light Rail has a stop at Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill, which has upped neighborhood’s appeal to people who work downtown and commercial developers alike. The distinctive views of the Olympics and Cascades are enjoyed throughout the whole Beacon Hill neighborhood.

By Lumpytrout via Wikimedia Commons
By Lumpytrout via Wikimedia Commons

One of the highlights of Beacon Hill is Jefferson Park.  Its golf club, which was home course for professional golfer Fred Couples during his teens, is one of Seattle’s few public golf courses. The park itself offers visitors gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains, downtown Seattle and Puget Sound. Other sports which can be played at the park include lawn bowling, basketball, cricket and tennis. The park also houses a community center, a wading pool and playground. Starting in 2012, a permaculture project called Beacon Food Forest will be housed on a 7 acre plot adjacent to the southwest corner of the park.

Van Asselt Community Center is located on S. Myrtle Street. It offers children and teen programs, drop in sport activities, fitness classes, art classes and other programs to benefit local residents. The facilities, remodeled in 2007, include a gym, dividable multipurpose room, teen room, childcare and kitchen. On the grounds, there is a wading pool, playground equipment and outdoor basketball hoops.

The Beacon Hill Blog, which is maintained by Wendi Dunlap (who also has managed the Beacon Hill email list since 1999) offers timely neighborhood information, neighborhood photos and an events calendar.

Beacon Hill is served by light rail direct to downtown Seattle. The station is 150 feet under Lander Street and the average downtown commute to about 12 minutes, car-free. Given its convenient proximity to I-5 and Interstate 90, a relatively affordable housing market, and its sweeping mountain and Puget Sound views, Beacon Hill has a lot to offer.

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