8735 19th Ave NW, 98117
This 4,000-square-foot park, located in the Crown Hill neighborhood, has many trees and native plants, boulder seating areas, and a winding nature path. It is a quiet spot at the convergence of two street ends, connected by a staircase. Groundswell NW identified this space in the mid 1990s as part of the Ballard Open Space plan and the City purchased the property in 1997 for park development.
More natural area than park, Crown Hill Glen is tucked away between 19th and 20th NW where these two avenues dead-end at NW 89th Street. First identified as an open space opportunity through Groundswell NW’s Open Space Inventory in 1996, the site is a hidden gem, and testament to the ongoing stewardship of its neighbors.
The natural surroundings look as if they have always been there...but this is not the case at all. George and Theadora Plumis, who were married in 1931, bought these four lots and the adjoining house and lot to the south in 1940. This was the Plumis' first home and its then rural surroundings gave Mr. Plumis a chance to recreate a bit of the farming culture of their Greek homeland by raising chickens, goats, sheep, and fruit trees. During the war, it served as a Victory Garden. It was plowed by horse until well into the 50's!
The Plumis' children sold the house and south lot to private individuals, but the park land was purchased with Conservation Futures Tax funds through the Seattle Open Space program. Groundswell NW played a key role in the acquisition, then with the North Salmon Bay Community Forestry Board got an initial grant from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to develop the site. Neighbors hired Barker Landscape Architects to hold community meetings, and come up with an urban forest plan.
The plan included many native plants, a nature trail, a natural play area, and a stair climb which connects 19th and 89th to help unite the previously divided neighborhood. Natural elements, recycled materials, porous surfaces for drainage, columnar basalt bird baths, logs, boulders, benches, and water for irrigation create a rich habitat area.
Funding included a Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund award, a grant from King County Department of Natural Resources, with help from the Seattle Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates, and King County Council member Larry Phillips. Throughout the planning, development, and construction of the park, Groundswell NW acted as fiscal sponsor, providing non-profit tax status.
The most amazing thing was the response from the neighbors who organized a garage sale, a bake sale and family dance, a barn dance at the Tractor Tavern, donations from local businesses, plus many hours spent digging out weeds from the site. Even the children pitched in, carrying buckets of rocks and mud from here to there.
The Friends of Crown Hill Glen continues to tend the site with monthly work parties. See the GNW event calendar for the next work party