Category Archives: History

After 82 years, public beach ruled to be private property; neighborhood groups advocating for public access

 

This Lake Washington access point was ruled to be private property at the end of NE 130th Street.

This Lake Washington access point was ruled to be private property at the end of NE 130th Street.

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New stairs were constructed to the beach before the lawsuit.

The only public access to Lake Washington in Lake City and Cedar Park was ruled to be privately-owned property, and the State Supreme Court recently upheld the ruling. This after 82 years of paddling, swimming, wading and enjoyment for land-locked folks in the community. After a unanimous vote by the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance, a network of organizations are now advocating to keep the beach access public.

The lawsuit came just as funding was secured and improvements were made to the park via a recent Parks and Green Spaces Levy. Lake City Live first reported about the legal dispute in April 2013. Click here to read story.

From the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance:

This small, local, Cedar Park community beach, established 82 years ago, is the only water access in the Lake City neighborhoods. It is the only public access to Lake Washington in the 5-mile stretch from Matthews Beach to Log Boom Park in Kenmore.

Since 1932 this beach has been open to public use. Nobody questioned the public nature of this property until it was purchased in October of 2010 and then 2 years later, the new owners and an adjacent neighbor sued King County and Seattle for ownership. By exploiting a technical procedural error made 82 years ago, they were able to take this property away from the public. There is no question that this beach was intended to remain public in perpetuity. Only a legal loophole allowed the adjacent landowners to succeed in their court case.

Resident David Pope has been working for years to bring awareness of the loss of the beach to the community. He regularly contributes to the Facebook Group “Friends of NE 130th Beach.” He will make a presentation to the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance in February.

You can read the Lake City Neighborhood Alliance letter to City of Seattle leaders below.

Download (PDF, 286KB)

You can see a Google Street view of the area below:


View Larger Map

Old Aqua Dive building demolished

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Many longtime Lake City residents learned to swim in the pool at the old Aqua Dive Swim and Fitness Club.

A few months back, a Facebook thread about the old swim club had people waxing nostalgic about the sound of kids echoing from the ceiling, swimming lessons, parties there, and of course the strong smell of chlorine that came from the facility.

There were lots of memories made in that old facility.

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Today, the forgotten Lake City swim club, where generations learned to reach, pull and kick, was turned into a pile of rubble.

The building sat vacant for years after it was closed. The building had become a sort of magnet for illegal activity and had regular homeless encampments inside. A neighborhood effort got the attention of the current owner of the property, who agreed it needed to come down.

From a blog post when the facility permanently closed in 2006:

Lake City has lost a warm and welcoming community gathering place –not to mention the cleanest and clearest pool water found in our city.  Nothing like a huge, over-sized sand filtration system (built when land was cheap) for clean water.  Your locker rooms might have seen better days, but they had accumulated decades of stories and friendships.  Your hot tub might have been intermittently hot in recent years, but it was always full of friends when your boilers ran full steam.

RIP AquaDive. You are irreplaceable to so many of us.  We relied on your calm, warm water for rehab and friendship. We’ll miss you.

Photos: Lake City celebrates SalmonFest Seattle and Pioneer Days Parade

Lake City’s SalmonFest Seattle kicked into high gear Saturday —after a brief thunderstorm brought a bit of excitement to festivalgoers. And the grand Pioneer Days Parade wrapped up a day of fun in Lake City.

The popular annual salmon bake, a fundraiser for the Community Center, started serving tasty fish from Loki Fish Co. at noon as people browsed the street fair and car show that lined NE 125th Street and part of 28th Ave NE. The street fair will return Sunday from 10-5 pm —for the first time as a two day event— and the salmon bake will continue serving the tasty fish from 12 to 5pm.

On Saturday the Pioneer Days Parade brought thousands of spectators to Lake City Way. And the evening properly wrapped up with a spectacular sunset over Li’l Ol’ Lake City (see last photo.)

You can see all the fun in the photos below.

Brayden and Payten at SalmonFest Seattle

Brayden and Payten at SalmonFest Seattle

Tom works the salmon grill

Tom works the salmon grill

Dancing in the street

Dancing in the street

Anya enjoys bubbles at the festival

Anya enjoys bubbles at the festival

The car show

The car show

A wild Rainier

A wild Rainier

The Vigilantes

The Vigilantes

The SalmonFest street festival

The SalmonFest street festival

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The Pioneer Days Parade

The sun sets in spectacular fashion over Lake City.

The sun sets in spectacular fashion over Lake City.

Lake Washington beach access at end of NE 130th St no longer public, appeals court rules

This Lake Washington access point was ruled to be private property at the end of NE 130th Street.

This Lake Washington access point was ruled to be private property at the end of NE 130th Street.

A Washington State Appeals court ruled on June 30th that a beach on Lake Washington is private property and not a place the public can access the water. The ruling may change nearly 80 years of public use of the small property.

The court ruled 3-0 against the City of Seattle and King County and sided with property owners on either side of the land at the end of Northeast 130th Street.

Lake City Live first reported about the dispute in April 2013 after signs were placed on the property announcing coming improvements as part of a Parks and Green Spaces Levy. When the sign was erected announcing the street end improvements by Seattle Parks and Seattle’s Department of Transportation, the adjacent property owners filed a dispute of title, saying the land was private property. As the case made its way through court, the project at the site was put on hold.

The dispute stems from the 1926 purchase of property from the Puget Mill Company. In 1932 King County vacated the street that separated the properties. The timing of the street vacation led to the dispute.

Some residents advocating for public Lake Washington access have expressed their disappointment via a Facebook group, and are now advocating for the City of Seattle to condemn the property for public use.

Area resident David Pope wrote in letter to City leaders, “The North end of Seattle has very limited access to Lake Washington and it would be irresponsible to let this public beach be taken over by two land owners who already enjoy water access.”

The beach is the only public access to Lake Washington between Matthews Beach and the Log Boom Park in Kenmore.

You can see a Google Street view of the area below:


View Larger Map

You can see the Washington Court of Appeals ruling below.

Download (PDF, 710KB)

 

 

B-17 buzzing over north Seattle as part of Wings of Freedom Tour

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Have you noticed the unusual airplane buzzing over north Seattle in recent days?

The airplane is a restored B-17 bomber, touring the country and offering rides from Boeing Field. The plane is one of three offering rides. A B-24 and P-51 are also part of the tour. Sunday is the final day the $450 flights.

You can find out more about the Collings Foundation, organizer of the flights, and the airplanes on their site by clicking here.

Lake City as viewed on a 1980s Atari game console

Computer graphics have come a long way since the 1980s. Now the smartphones we carry around in our pockets can render imagery with stunning detail. With a bit of nostalgia for Atari-era video games, we share this 8-bit map of Lake City courtesy of 8-BIT CITY.

The site renders maps without the impressive abilities of Google or Bing. Instead it shows interactive maps in the style of 1980s video games. You can scroll around the map to explore the neighborhood. Just watch out for the Space Invaders or Centipedes.

Blast from the past, 1980 KIRO/7 story on Lake City

See video below

A screen grab of the KIRO/7 story. See video below

The year was 1980. A beautification project along Lake City Way was just completed and Lake City came out to celebrate. Governor Dixie Lee Ray and Mayor Charles Royer were there for the ceremony, at the invitation of the Chamber of Commerce.

In the video the news reporter talks about Lake City’s over the top celebration at the end of the first phase of a beautification program. She said the event might have been “a touch of overkill” with a “plethora of politicians” in attendance.

This blast from the past video (below) from the archives of KIRO/7 shows Lake City about 33 years ago.

At the time Chamber President Jack Willis said of the beautification project: “This is just the beginning.”

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Help choose a hot rod to represent Dick’s Drive-In on its 60th anniversary

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Cars are on display at Dick’s Drive-In on Sunday. Photo courtesy Dave Morris

dicksLake City’s own Dick’s Drive-In hosted a car show on Sunday, bringing some shiny, slick hot rods to our neighborhood hamburger joint. The impressive show helped kick off Dick’s 60th anniversary celebration. (Happy 60th, Dick’s!)

During the show, five cars were selected as possible cars to represent Dick’s during their anniversary celebration. And from those five selected hot rods you can help choose Dick’s 60th anniversary car.

Just go to the Dick’s Drive-In Facebook page where they have posted photos of the five cars selected, by clicking here, and the car that gets the most likes wins.

You must vote by midnight on Tuesday.

You can see this wonderful story about the car show and voting by KING/5 photojournalist Ron Sanford below:

Theatre and Cinema in North Seattle

theaterfaces The Seattle Musical Theatre ended its 35th Season with “Gypsy: A Musical Fable.”  The musical first opened in theaters in 1959 and has become a standard throughout the world.  It is a long show, over three hours, and is packed with songs and a dancing cow. I saw the production with my daughter and two granddaughters who described the play as a story about a mother who gives all her attention to her youngest daughter because she is a “star” and ignores the older one.  They each thought the mother was scary but otherwise, enjoyed the musical, especially the songs, and thought the whole thing was fantastic, funny and a good story.

Seattle Musical Theater. 2013

Seattle Musical Theater.

The Seattle Musical Theatre began as the Civic Light Opera and performed at Jane Adams School in Lake City for 25 years before moving to the Shoreline Community Center for a few years, and then onto its current home in Magnuson Park in 2004.  Two years later, they changed the name of the company to The Seattle Musical Theatre.  Next season begins September 13, 2013 with the musical version of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

Thornton Place Cinema (Regal Stadium 14 & IMAX), south of the Northgate Mall, is another venue for north Seattle entertainment. Currently, Leonardo DiCaprio, as Jay Gatsby, is starring on the big screen, in a lavish movie production of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, “The Great Gatsby.” The novel has been and continues to be on the recommended reading list for high school students and has been taught in English classes for decades. The latest movie version of the book is no less lavish and romantic than the earlier movie version that starred Robert Redford. The symbolism in the newer version is blunt, but spectacular with lush set designs and big name stars.

lakecitytheatersign Before Thornton Place was built many Lake City residents visited the Oak Tree Cinema on Aurora Avenue.  Long before the Oak Tree was built, the Lake City Theater, at N.E. 125th and 31st N.E. was the place to see movies.

A little historical research revealed the theater was designed by architect Bjarne Holten Moe, 1904 – 1980.  Mr. Moe was born in Norway, raised in Tacoma and Everett, studied three years at the University of Washington and received his state architectural license in 1930 (No. L126).  From 1928 to 1931, Moe worked for famed Seattle architect, R.C. Reamer whose designs are described as “French Norman contemporary” by Historic Seattle.  Moe designed apartment buildings for developer Fred Anhalt; whose Ten-O-Five Apartments are a Seattle historic landmark; and an article by Moe in the Seattle Times (April 11, 1932) presented ways for people to modernize their homes with brick facing.  The French style Ten-O-Five Apartments have a French tower and historic clinker brick facing.  “A clinker brick is one which was discarded because it was discolored or distorted.  In the 1920s, leaders of the Arts and Crafts design movement rediscovered its possibilities for creative and dramatic architectural detailing” says John C. Gavin, Founder of Historical Bricks.

Bjarme_MoeBjarne Moe opened his own practice in 1932 and began to designed movie theaters throughout Washington, Idaho, Montana and northern Oregon.  His projects included Green Lake Theater (1937); Lake City Theater (c1939); Renton Theater (1939); Varsity Theater in the Meister Bld. (1940); Coy’s Highline Theater (1947); Crest Theater (1949); alterations to the Rainier Theater (1945); and Moe is credited with the remodel of the Ridgemont Theater (1967).  Moe also designed auditorium seating for the B.F. Shearer Co., theatrical outfitters, located in the old theatrical district of Seattle, in today’s Belltown.

Clinker Brick

Clinker Brick

His non-theater structures include the French style Robin Welts House in Mount Vernon (1934); a market building for John Wilson in the Green Lake Neighborhood (1937); the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church (1940) in Seattle and a remodel of the Richmond Hotel Coffee Shop (1940).  The Richmond Hotel is now the Downtowner Apartments which is within the original plat of the City of Seattle as recorded, “This day personally appeared D.S. Maynard and acknowledged the within to be a true copy of the Plat of the Town of Seattle, in King County, Washington Territory and that the same is in accordance with hiss (stet) free will, wishes and desire of which he is proprietor.  Seattle, May 23rd, 1853, Signed H. I. Yesler.

University of Washington architecture professor and Seattle’s best-known advocate of historic preservation, Victor Steinbrueck, studied under Bjarne Moe from 1937 to 1938. Bjarne would have been about 33 years old and Victor would have been about 26 years old. Memorial services were held for Bjarne H. Moe, at the Acacia Funeral Home, 150th and Bothell Way, N.E.  on Wednesday, May 7, 1980. Acacia Cemetary is not too far from Moe’s Lake City and Crest theaters.

The Lake City Theater was within walking distance of my home and my son and his friends saw “Star Wars” there.  By then the theater was showing second run movies.  My husband, who had relatives in Lake Forest Park, remembers going to see the movie, “The Robe” in about 1960.  I met a woman on the bus whose sister-in-law was an usher at the theater when she and her husband were students at Nathan Hale High School in the 1960s.  Other people remember seeing “Saturday Night Fever” and “Gone with the Wind” at the venue.  Often my husband and I would have dinner at Bakers Restaurant and walk around the corner to see a movie at the theater.  We always sat in the balcony.  Bakers Restaurant is now Romeo’s and the Mennonite Church now owns the theater.

Entrance with original doors and posts.

Entrance with original doors, post and checkered deck from 1940.

I spoke with Marsha from the church and she was nice enough to give me an update on the interior of the old theater.  Marsha said someone used the heavy theater curtains for a home theater and the last eight seats were sold on eBay.  (There were originally 843 seats.)  The candy counter is part of their kitchen.  She didn’t know anything about the “Lake City” sign; it may have been removed before the church bought the property in 1990.  I remember the dark floral carpeting, which the church has since replaced, and the wonderful smell of popcorn.

Change is inevitable even for Lake City; the tower at old Fire Station #39, an unofficial landmark for Lake City stands for now, but the “Lake City” theater sign is gone with the wind.

Navy plans ‘time critical’ cleanup of radioactive contamination at Magnuson Park

Rep. Gerry Pollet answers questions from the public Wednesday evening.

Rep. Gerry Pollet answers questions from the public Wednesday evening at the Mountaineers.

Anxious residents and park users gathered at Magnuson Park Wednesday evening for an open house with government officials and representatives of the U.S. Navy to discuss the cleanup of low-level radioactive contamination only recently disclosed to the public.

The meeting was unusual, with a few tense exchanges between officials, and lots of explaining from government officials.

In an email circulated among Lake City neighbors earlier in the week announcing the meeting, some in the email chain expressed disbelief that officials would know about contamination and not disclose it to the public sooner. Some even debated its authenticity. The park is a popular destination for people in NE Seattle.

Sandpoint Naval Station in 1937

Sandpoint Naval Station in 1937. (Seattle P-I photo)

The low-level radioactive contamination was first discovered in 2009 after blueprints were discovered with an area labled radium room. The contaminated areas disclosed by the Navy includes the south shed attached to building 27 and adjacent soil and catch basins. Building 2 and and 12 also had adjacent contamination in the soil, while building 2 had contamination inside. That structure is currently vacant.

Many people have expressed concern, specifically surrounding the fact that children use the adjacent gym at building 27 through the Li’l Kickers soccer program. But Rep. Gerry Pollet, who has pushed for the contamination to be publicly acknowledged by the Navy, said he feels the area is safe enough for his own kids.

Radiation measured around building 27 has been measured above the level that federal law requires cleanup. Areas around Magnuson Park tested by the Wasington State Department of Health registered in the range of 4-10 microrem, according to the Department of Health. The EPA requires cleanup at any site with more than 15 mrem per year. Radium-226, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 were discovered at the site.

During the meeting representatives of the Navy said the removal of contamination is “time critical,” largely because the buildings where it is located are not maintained and have fallen into disrepair. Time critical means there is less time for public input on the plan.

They expect the project to take fewer than six months. Public comments can be sent to the U.S. Navy via Cindy O’Hare, 1101 Tautog Circle, Room 203, Silverdale, Washington 98315-1101 or emailed to: cindy.ohare@navy.mil

Here is a story about the contamination from the Seattle Times.

You can read more here from the Washington Dept. of Ecology or here in our previous story.

Here is a link to the Navy’s Action Memorandum (May 2013)

Here is a fact sheet from the Navy and Dept. of Ecology

Here is the Navy’s Radiological Remedial Investigation Report

Below is a report from KOMO/4