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Seattle’s Gas Works Park Along Wallingford’s Lake Union Shores

Seattle has a huge tradition of transforming spaces no longer in use for other things; and one of those spaces of Gas Works Park. At 19.1 acres, Gas Works is of reasonable size and offers beautiful, south—facing views across Lake Union towards South Lake Union, the Seattle skyline, and Queen Anne. Accessible along N Northlake Way in Wallingford, the park is made of a few sections, including Kit Hill, Brown’s Point, and the decommissioned coal gasification station of the park’s namesake.

Gas Works Park has a unique atmosphere that differs from most other parks in the area. There are amazing views, of course, but the park focuses around the history of the site, where one can catch a glimpse of what the area used to be used for.

GAS WORKS, THE BRIEFEST HISTORY

The coal gasification station operated between 1906 and 1956 and was purchased 6 years later in 1962 by the City of Seattle for park purposes. Nearly 13 years after purchase, the park opened in 1975 after having been designed by Seattle landscape architect, Richard Haag. The gas plant was decommissioned and converted by Daviscourt Construction Company and reused as one of the park’s main attractions.

It was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places in early 2013.

SPECIAL FEATURES

The PLAY BARN houses the decommissioned station and is a great place for a covered or uncovered picnic. With grills and picnic sites and restrooms, they have all the basics for another good day in Seattle. One can reserve your space on the City of Seattle website, here.

KITE HILL is a big popular hill many use for flying kites, but it also offers a fabulous view of several Seattle neighborhoods. It’s also great for lounging in the sun and playful fun.

THE EARTH MOUND was created by two local artists – Chuck Greening and Kim Lazare, according to Wikipedia – and was formed out of “thousands of cubic yards of rubble from building foundations covered with fresh topsoil.” It works by the visitor standing in the center and, depending on where the sundial lands, tells the time of day and season.

Updated PARK PLAYGARDEN information can be found here.

The rest of Gas Works is largely fields and meadows, with a significant viewing area on the southernmost tip. Enjoy walking your pets along the paved pathways, playing fetch on the grass, a picnic with a friend, or just soak in the Seattle scene.

Gas Works Park was immortalized on the “10 Things I Hate About You” movie.

This reclaimed piece of the city offers an interesting dichotomy between the city’s history, current park uses, surrounding suburbs. Can you imagine if the land was still used for its original purpose? What might that do to the surrounding homes and their real estate value?

Have you visited Gas Works Park? Share your favorite story or adventure in the comments below!


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