West Seattle’s 41 Libraries

Two of West Seattle’s 37 Little Free LibrariesLeft: At 6424 48th Ave SW.  Right: 7141 California Ave SW.

West Seattle is definitely a well-read community. Including four public library branches (High Point, West Seattle, Southwest, and Delridge), there are actually 41 Libraries in West Seattle! If you’ve seen little (often wood) boxes standing on poles along a residential street somewhere containing books, they are referred to as “Little Free Libraries”: a worldwide movement which started in Hudson, Wisconsin. As of Fall 2016, 50,000 of these little book depositories/lending libraries have sprouted up across the globe.

So how does it work? Some kind individual or organization wanted to spread the joy of reading books and increase literacy. So they either bought a pre-made box from the Little Free Library organization that originated the idea, or built one themselves. Books range greatly in subject matter, but the goal is to provide a varied selection of literature for the community. You can take a book, trade, or donate your own books. There is no need to bring back the book you borrowed, but if you have a few to share to keep the book exchange stocked for other neighbors, that’s great.

West Seattle’s come in all shapes and sizes! If you’re interested in finding out where a free little library is near you, or go on your own fun tour to see many of them, here’s a map. Type in “Seattle and “WA” in the City/State search at the top of the window, then enlarge the West Seattle portion of the map to view our many choices.

If you’d like to get involved or start a new one, check out the Little Free Library’s FAQs page.

Happy reading!

What are those Pilings at Anchor Park?

Pilings at Anchor Park, low tide. Photo: James Johnson/Seattle P-I.

Luna Park, shortly after opening in 1907.

During very low tide at Anchor Park in West Seattle, one can see the remnants of pilings jutting out of the sand. This, as well as an ornate, 100+ year old carousel, now in California, are all that remain of a grand amusement playground called “Luna Park”. It dazzled everyone in 1907 when it opened, with its bounty of lights that could be seen across the water at night in Seattle, surrounding its many rides and attractions. In spite of this, the amusement park was only open until 1913, plagued with difficulties (explained later). The pilings were driven into the tide flats so a boardwalk could extend over Elliott Bay below Duwamish Head.

Left: Anchor Park today. Photo: FrankFujimoto/Flickr.  Right: Luna Park attractions then.

Bustling Luna Park, early 1900’s.

Luna Park came into being because of a master carver and builder’s vision: Charles I.D. Looff. He had previously created the very first Coney Island carousel and also amusement ride in New York, and initiated a new style of carving, plus profitable business.  Amusement parks were considered new and “cutting edge” for the masses, since most people were still riding horses and driving buggies, and many rural homes didn’t have electricity or a telephone. Ferries, called the Mosquito Fleet (because they were small and quick) and a new streetcar connected West Seattle to the mainland at this point, which is how visitors reached the excitement of Luna Park.

The Natatorium pools

A roller coaster and other rides, a new live theatre production weekly, Seattle’s first manned flight location, and, of course, the merry-go-round were all part of the attraction. There was even a human baby incubator, Cave of Mystery, as well as a bear pit. One of the biggest draws was the “Natatorium”, indoor pools with both seawater as well as fresh water for swimmers.

Luna Park ran into trouble for a number of reasons: They had the largest stocked bar in all of Elliott Bay that was boisterous at night, and the resulting poor behavior upset the locals. West Seattle had recently been annexed to Seattle, which meant there were more restrictions. They were sued for injuries that incurred, including one man falling from a ride and breaking his neck. As we all know, the winds can be fierce during the winter along Alki Beach, so the park wasn’t as busy at that time of year. And rides stayed closed for months while waiting for parts to arrive by boat. Eventually sales dwindled, the owner grew frustrated and sold his shares, and the rides were taken down and removed in 1913. The Natatorium was renamed “Luna Pools”, and continued for public use until 1931 when an arsonist burned it down. And that’s how Anchor Park was born in the early 1950’s—the hollow pool wells were filled in with concrete.

The Luna Park Carousel today at Yerba Buena Gardens. Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr

Mr. Looff’s hand-carved Zeum carousel from Luna Park still spins today at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, CA.  A 1909 carousel he created for his daughter Emma and her husband’s wedding gift is still in operation in Spokane, WA. And you can walk between those pilings at Anchor (or Luna) Park when the tide ebbs low, and ponder history.

Anchor Park,  1047 Alki Ave SW,  Seattle, WA

What Can You Rent for $1,500/Mo These Days?

If you’ve been renting or researching the rental Market in the Seattle area lately, you know that the cost of rent has continued to rise in recent months with inventory low and and high demand. But how do we compare the cost of rent to the rest of the US? Our friends at Zillow have sorted through rentals across the States, and compiled a list of what a typical rental, from single family homes to high rise apartment units will look like if your budget falls in the $1,500/Month price range.

In Miami FL,  for $1,495 residents can reside in a 3 bed, 3 bath 1,412 sf condo with lake views, and of course a sun deck to enjoy that Florida sunshine. In Las Vegas, one can rent a 2 bed 2 bath penthouse in a resort style apartment complex. Features include a large master, granite counter tops, and amenities such as a workout facility and pool and spa. over here in the Pacific Northwest, the Zillow folks have chosen a  2 bed 2 bath 727 sf West Seattle rental listed for $1,450 a month, with hardwood flooring, stainless steel appliances, and laundry facility in unit. This unit also has a built in sound system. How do you feel Seattle stacks up among other metro neighborhoods?

Tis the Season for a Christmas Ship Festival!

The month of December is filled with Holiday activities around the city of Seattle, and an all time favorite for many Seattleites includes the Argosy Christmas Ship Festival. It’s been a holiday traditional celebration in the Pacific Northwest since 1949, and every year from November 24th through December 23rd the Argosy Christmas Ship sets it’s sails around the Sound to various waterfront communities including Gasworks Park, Pier 55, Alki Beach Park, Shilshoe, Laurelhurst Beach Club among many many others (45 to be exact).


The ship has different choirs performing, brightening the festivities for patrons on board. A nice addition to the Christmas ship experience is that on shore along the different water front community stops, locals gather around singing carols and anticipating the arrival of the ships, welcoming those getting off, and either hopping aboard the ship, or one of the parade ships that follow. Those who have their own boats can decorate theirs with lights and join in the line of as one of the largest holiday floating parades in the world! The schedule this week includes two value nights on Tuesday and Wednesday, ($10 knocked off the standard $35 per person price) with choirs such as the Dickens Carolers, Rainier Youth Choir, and the Federal Way Harmony Kings. You won’t want to miss out on this wonderful NW Christmas tradition, for more information on the Christmas Ship Festival and schedule, visit their website today.

Free Rainbow Cake at Cupcake Royale Today!

In appreciation of the approval of Referendum 74 this week after elections in Washington State, Cupcake Royale on Capitol Hill is inviting the community to come out and celebrate, and dive into a free piece of what they’re claiming is the world’s largest rainbow cake (shaped in the state of Washington with Rainbow sprinkles on top!).

Photo Courtesy of Cupcake Royale

The cake will be cut at 3:00PM this afternoon and slices will be served until it’s gone. If you miss the freebies, but still want to celebrate, all Cupcake Royale locations are serving “Gaybies” mini rainbow cupcakes, and Obamacakes now through Sunday. See you on the Hill!

Starbucks Accepting Square Wallet Payments Today

We’ve been hearing about the new Square Inc mobile payment system for a few months now, and today it’s official; 7,000 Starbucks locations across the US are now accepting the Square Wallet mobile payment. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Starbucks invested $25 million in the Square start-up company, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz joined the company’s board of directors.

Customers can now download the Square Wallet app, and use the Square payment system by linking their debit/credit card, and clicking pay here to a near by Starbucks location. All the barista has to do is scan a QR code on your phone and the payment is processed. Customers can still make mobile payments using the Starbucks App, which acts as a mobile gift card, but the Square wallet App takes away the inconvenience of having to worry about loading and reloading the account. The Square App also keeps track of each transaction, which will come in handy if you’d like to know how much you’re spending on coffee. Download the wallet app for a list of participating Starbucks in your neighborhood.

West Seattle Home For Sale: $2,250,000

This West Seattle Estate has breathtaking bluff views of the Olympics and the Northwest Islands! The beautiful grounds, including the garden out front have been well maintained and the deck out back practically sells the estate itself. This 5 bed, 3.25 bath has old world charm, with all of the amenities, a wonderful sun room, and the grace of a by-gone era. The living room and kitchen have huge bay windows looking out across the Sound, as do the majority of other rooms in this massive 6,350 sf space. For more information on this luxury home, or other properties in the surrounding Seattle area, visit Ewing & Clark Inc.

Status: For Sale
Bed/Bath: 5/3.25
Price: $2,250,000

Garbage Piling Up? Waste Management Strike Affects King County

Did you notice your garbage was still in the driveway when you came home from work yesterday afternoon? You weren’t the only one! The Waste Management Team in King and Snohomish counties went on strike yesterday afternoon against the largest refuse service over wage and benefits issues in the Northwest. According to the Seattle Times, the Local 117, which includes 153 recycling-route drivers walked out yesterday, and were joined by the garbage truck drivers of Local 174 shortly after.

Drivers began to pull service trucks into the South Seattle Waste Management yard, stepped out of their vehicles and picked up a picket sign. Their strike affects over 220,000 in King and Snohomish counties, and Waste Management could be issued steep fines should the strike drag out; up to $4,500 dollars a day for failing to make scheduled collections, and $250,000 if the strike drags out longer than a week. Drivers have been without a contract since May 31st, and are disputing the wage gap between recycle drivers who start at $17 an hour vs garbage drivers who’re starting at around $26 an hour. At this time there are no plans for negotiation in place, Waste Management hopes drivers will come back to work. For more information on the strike, visit the Seattle Times.

New West Seattle Estate Rental On the Market

This West Seattle Estate will be available to rent August 1st, and has breathtaking views over Puget Sound, the Olympics and the Northwest Islands! The beautiful grounds, including the garden out front have been well maintained and the deck out back practically sells the rental itself. This 5 bed, 4.25 bath home has been here for nearly 100 years, and is available to rent month to month, furnished or unfurnished. The living room and kitchen have huge bay windows looking out across the Sound, as do the majority of other rooms in this massive 6,350 sf rental. For more information on this luxury rental, or other properties in the surrounding Seattle area, visit Ewing & Clark Inc.

Status: For Rent
Bed/Bath: 5/4.25
Price: $4,700

Good Bye Plastic Bags, Hello Sustainable Seattle!

After this weekend, the plastic bag ban in Seattle will go into affect July 1st, so if you haven’t already been accumulating some reusable grocery totes, this weekend might be a good time to get your hands on a few! The law states that all retail stores are prohibited from providing customers with single use plastic carry out bags, even those advertised as compostable, biodegradable, etc.

Retail stores will now be providing customers with any size recyclable paper bag, at a cost of a minimum of 5 cents per bag. Bag charges will show up on customer receipts, a friendly reminder to bring your totes with you next time you pick up your groceries. If you’re picking up party favors and fireworks this weekend for the July 4th holiday, say your goodbyes to the plastic bag for the week to come! If you haven’t picked up any bags yet, Safeway stores in Seattle will give away 32,000 free reusable totes this Sunday in preparation for the Bag Ban.