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Volunteer Park Seattle Landmark Designation

Volunteer Park Seattle Landmark Designation
Community Advocacy


Volunteer Park in 1930 / Photo: Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives

The Community Advocacy Award goes to the Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks (FSOP) for the arduous work involved in preparing a complex and successful landmark nomination application for Volunteer Park. The organization's documentation of this complicated and highly significant cultural landscape serves to insure the preservation of Volunteer Park and fosters the on-going recognition of our unique citywide Olmsted legacy. Realizing that Volunteer Park was the most comprehensively designed and faithfully preserved component within the citywide Olmsted-designed plan for the Seattle Park system, FSOP board members prepared a City Landmark nomination application several years ago. The volunteer effort led to an impressive 110-page document that provides a thorough description of the park's landscape features and elements as a whole, as well as specifically documents various component buildings, structures, monuments and water features and small-scale design elements. It includes in-depth contextual information regarding the national, local and neighborhood significance of the Seattle work of the Olmsted firm and the history and evolution of the park itself. In addition to current and historic plans, aerial views and current photographs, the document includes historic photographs, and postcards, a plant list and an historic chronology. The nomination was presented to the Landmarks Preservation Board in September 2011 and approved unanimously at a designation hearing in November 2011. Congratulations are due to the entire FSOP Board of Directors, past-president Brooks Kolb, lead author Charlie Sundberg, author Sue Nichol and editor (and current FSOP president) Jennifer Ott.


Volunteer Park Water Tower / Photo: Friends of Seattle's Olsted Parks

The Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks was formed in 1983 in response to the growing appreciation of the national significance of the work of the Olmsted Brothers firm and the significance of Seattle's own Olmsted-designed park and boulevard system. During the intervening years FSOP has undertaken numerous innovative and award-worthy projects in order to encourage public awareness, enjoyment and appreciation of this legacy. These include the Olmsted Interpretive Exhibit housed on the observation deck of the Volunteer Park Water Tower, a walking-bicycling or driving Olmsted system tour brochure, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition walking tour brochure and "Olmsted Centennial News," and guided walking tours with the cooperation of Seattle Parks & Recreation and other public and private agencies.

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