Friday, October 31, 2014

Brighton Playfield

Brighton Playfield/Playground in October 2013

Brighton Playfield is a fairly large park with more terrain & changes in elevation than you would expect from a playfield.  It covers more than 12 acres including a tennis court, basketball courts, restrooms, a playground & a large playfield.  It is attached to Aki Kurose Middle School.  This very pleasant space is often used by people in the Brighton neighborhood as a place to walk.   It is located at 6000 39th Avenue S in the Rainier Valley.  

English immigrants who purchased lots here in the 1880s named the neighborhood for a resort town in England.  The City of Seattle annexed the area in 1907. The Olmsted Brothers architectural firm recommended a park for the Brighton neighborhood in 1908.  In 1911, the residents of Brighton petitioned the Parks Board for a playfield. A series of bond issues resulted in the purchase of the Brighton Playfield in 1913. For 20 years, the playfield site was used as a construction camp for street graders, for gardens, and as a garbage dump. Development of the park began in 1930. In 1948, the Seattle School Board selected a site south of the Brighton Playfield for a junior high school. Part of the Olmsted Plan was for schools to be sited next to playfields to provide recreation for students. This information comes from Seattle Neighborhoods: Brighton Beach at

Friday, October 24, 2014

Dishman Hills Natural Area

Amelanchier alnifolia (Sarvisberry)

Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine) in the Dishman Hills Natural Area October 2012

Dishman Hills Natural Area October 2012

Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa Pine) in the Dishman Hills Natural Area October 2012

Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape)  All photos taken in October 2012.

Click here for more photos of Dishman Hills Natural Area.

The Dishman Hills Natural Area is a mixed Ponderosa Pine & Douglas Fir forest maintained by the Spokane County Parks and Recreation Department.  It consists of 530 acres just outside the City of Spokane.  It is a beautiful native forest, remarkably free of alien species.  The rock formations are also quite impressive.

Ponderosa Pine forest generally occurs on the driest sites supporting conifers in the Pacific Northwest. It is widespread & variable, appearing on moderate to steep slopes in canyons, foothills, & on plateaus or plains near mountains. Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) & Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) are the most common evergreen trees in this habitat.  The undergrowth can include dense stands of shrubs or, more often, be dominated by grasses, sedges, &/or forbs.  In the Dishman Hills Natural Area I saw Amelanchier alnifolia (Sarvisberry) Balsamorhiza sagittata (Arrowleaf Balsamroot) Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon Grape) Physocarpus malvaceus (Mallow-leaf Ninebark) Symphoricarpos albus (Common Snowberry) & quite a lot of grass.

Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) is one of the most widely distributed pines in western North America.   Pacific Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa var. ponderosa) ranges from the Fraser River of southern British Columbia, south through the mountains of Washington, Oregon & California. In the northeast part of its range it extends east of the Continental Divide Montana & south to the Snake River Plain in Idaho.  It is found primarily on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains & in mountainous areas of eastern Washington.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Seattle Japanese Garden

All photos were taken in September 2014.

Click here for more photos of the Seattle Japanese Garden.

The best known Japanese garden in the Seattle area is located the Washington Park Aboretum.  In 2010 the Seattle Japanese Garden celebrated its 50th anniversary.  In 1924 the Olmsted Brothers designed the University of Washington Arboretum.  By 1937 it was agreed that the arboretum needed a Japanese garden, a project not realized until end of the World War II, for obvious reasons.  The Arboretum Foundation began raising funds for the creation of the Japanese Garden in 1957. The Foundation asked Tatsuo Moriwaki of Tokyo Metro Parks to help guide the process. He selected Kiyoshi Inoshita & Juki Iida to design the project.  The design was finished in 1959.  Under the supervision of Juki Iida & Nobumasa Kitamura, construction began in March 1960 & was completed within four months. More than 500 large granite rocks from Snoqualmie Pass were used. Construction was done mostly by local Japanese-American gardeners including William Yorozu as the prime contractor for plants, Richard Yamasaki for stone setting, and Kei Ishimitsu for Garden structures.  The Seattle Japanese Garden was the earliest postwar public construction of a Japanese garden on the Pacific Coast.  It had a strong influence on the design of future Japanese gardens throughout the region.  The original tea house was burned by vandals in 1973 & reconstructed by Yasunori (Fred) Sugita in 1981.  A new gatehouse & community meeting room were completed in 2009.  The bronze gate was designed by Seattle sculptor Gerard Tsutakawa.

Friday, October 10, 2014

September in Seattle

The South Lake Union Streetcar at Lake Union Park

Old & new buildings side by side.

 Old buildings soon to be demolished.

These photos were taken in South Lake Union in September 2014.  This area is converting rapidly from warehouses to office buildings for the high tech industry, mostly Amazon.

September 2014 in Seattle was warmer & wetter than normal.  The mean temperature was 64.8F/18.2C.  The normal mean temperature is 61.3F/16.3C.  Total precipitation was 2.23 inches/56.64mm.  Normal precipitation is 1.5 inches/38.1mm.  The highest temperature was 90F/32.2C on 9/6, the lowest 50F/10C on 9/13.  There was one day with heavy rain, 3 days with rain, 13 days with light rain, 13 days with fog (one of them with visibility at less than 1/4 mile) 10 cloudy days, 9 partly cloudy days & 11 fair days.  It was a pleasant month with an unusual number of fair days & some beautifully foggy mornings.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Lakewood Playground

Lakewood Playground in September 2013

The charm of the Lakewood Playground lies in its small scale in a quiet neighborhood in southeast Seattle.  It has the appearance of a village green, surrounded by attractive homes in this prosperous area on the shore of Lake Washington.  Lakewood is unfamiliar to many people even in Seattle, or is thought to be a part of the Seward Park neighborhood, which it borders to the north.  The park covers 2 acres with a play area, restrooms, soccer & baseball/softball fields.  It is located at 5013 S Angeline Street.  Angeline Street was named after Princess Angeline, the daughter of Chief Seattle.  She was born nearby in a longhouse of the Duwamish Tribe on Lake Washington.

Lakewood was originally a peninsula on the western shore of Lake Washington, formed by a long inlet called Wetmore Slough (the present location of Genesee Park) that extended more than half a mile south from the lake & turned west toward Columbia City.  The thick forest provided the cedar trees that the Duwamish used for their longhouses, but the tribe does not appear to have established a permanent camp here. During summer months, families erected shelters woven from cattails on the shore of the lake where they caught fish and dug roots. During the winter, they lived in elaborate longhouses on Pritchard Island, not far to the south.  Not until a bridge carried Lake Washington Boulevard S across the mouth of the slough in 1912 & a trolley line opened on S Genesee Street did the community gain good communication with the rest of the city.  This information comes from Seattle Neighborhoods: Lakewood at