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

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

4724 California Ave Design Reivew Meeting This Week

Although development has been slowing down rapidly over the past two years, we are starting to see projects pick up in various areas, such as West Seattle, and North Seattle neighborhoods like Ballard and Fremont. Plans for the 4724 California Ave project in West Seattle are still underway, and a Southwest Design Review Board meeting will be held this Thursday night at 6:30PM at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. This is the first public design meeting for the roughly 100unit building with retail space on the ground floor in the junction at the old Petco site. For more information on this project status, or other developments in the neighborhood, please visit the Department of Planning and Development.

Wonderful Craftsman in West Seattle- AVAILABLE

This luxurious rental is located is West Seattle and is in walking distance to Fauntleroy shopping and cafes.  This Wonderful Craftsman has sweeping views of The Sound and the Olympics. This rental offers 3,700 square feet of living space and features 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The home has a spectacular gourmet kitchen with maple cabinets. Please follow the links to find full listing details and photos of the home, or search other Seattle luxury rentals.

Status
For Rent
List Price $3,450
Bed/Bath 3/2.5

Divers Find Wreckage Off Alki Point

Divers believe to have found wreckage of a 1906 steamer off Alki Point this week, after searching for more than 20 years, reports The Seattle Times.  The ship called Dix, which sank in 1906 after a collision, has remained in the Puget Sound in 500 feet of water for over 100 years.  Despite the success of finding the vessel, it is doubtful that it will be discovered any further.  The ship was part of the Mosquito Fleet, and over 45 people died in the accident.  It’s pretty interesting to know that pieces of Seattle’s history are buried so deep.  The Seattle Times even dug up the original story of the Dix sinking, which was published in 1906 the day after the collision.  Check out the full story here.

Alki Beach Park

With the start of Spring and a forecast of 66 degrees on Sunday,  a  lot  more people are going to start heading out to Alki to enjoy the view and fun activities.  Some of the activities that people enjoy taking in,  include rollerblading, walking their dogs, playing volleyball and having bonfires.  For those of you thinking about heading out to Alki for a fun filled day, please see park hours and activities by clicking on Alki Beach.

West Seattle Golf Course

The Seattle Times released its top 18 holes of golf from public courses in the Puget Sound region on Wednesday.  I thought to myself that one of the holes on the back 9 at the West Seattle Golf Course (See Map) had to be one of the 18 included solely for the Seattle skyline view.  Sure enough, hole number 12 was one of the memorable 18 and this narrow Par 5 isn’t easy, but the view is priceless. Please click on West Seattle Golf Course to make tee times and to view photos of each hole, especially no. 12.

The West Seattle Helpline Fundraiser

The West Seattle Helpline, a non-profit organization aimed at helping West Seattle community members, will be holding their annual fundraiser, The Taste of West Seattle on May 19th. The event will take place at The Hall at Fauntelroy and will feature food and drink from over a dozen local businesses.  Proceeds from the event will go to The West Seattle Helpline and benefit the working families they aid.  If you would like to become a sponsor for the event, please do so by the deadline March 31st through their official website.

Man Stabbed Wednesday Morning Update 2/17

A suspect was found and booked yesterday, and is expected to have a hearing this afternoon. 

Early Wednesday morning, a man was stabbed to death in his West Seattle home.  Police responded to a 911 call after 12:00 a.m. from the victim’s wife, but were unable to save the man.  His attacker, whom police believed knew the man, has not been found.  The wife reported hearing her husband and another man arguing, and found him stabbed after the man had left.  You are urged to contact police if you have any information regarding the case.

White Center Robbery

A man, who was initially known as the polite robber, was arrested early this week after robbing a Shell gas station in White Center, all while apologizing profusely to the attendant (all of which can be seen on an a surveillance video).  When police booked the perpetrator, Gregory Hess, it turned out he was guilty of a number of other robberies for which he was charged in 2003.  Then, Hess was known as the ‘transaction bandit’, asking for small change before holding tenders up (with an air pistol) and demanding cash.  In these earlier robberies,  Hess had recently quit his Starbucks job in Madison Park Seattle and he was struggling financially.  The latest robbery in White Center, Hess used the same excuse, telling the attendant he needed to take care of his family.  In a brief interview, the attendant admitted feeling sorry for the guy and even sent him with a kind farewell.  I guess being polite with “please” and “thank you” keeps some attendants at bay, but minding your manners doesn’t always work when it comes to the law.