This 20 acre point on Lake Union was cleared in 1906 to construct a plant to manufacture gas from coal - later converted to crude oil. Import of natural gas in the 1950's made the plant obsolete. The city acquired the site for a park in 1962. The park was opened to the public in 1975. The boiler house has been converted to a picnic shelter with tables, fire grills and an open area. The former exhauster-compressor building, now a children's play barn, features a maze of brightly painted machinery.
ABOUT THE PARK
Gas Works Park has a play area with a large play barn, and big hill popular for flying kites. Special park features include a sundial, and a beautiful view of Seattle.Access to Lake Union is restricted at Gas Works Park, as the lake sediment contains hazardous substances. Entering the water or launching boats from the park is prohibited (SMC 18.12.070) There is no swimming, no fishing and no wading in the park.
Burke-Gilman Trail runs past Gas Works parking lot and follows the Burlington-Northern Railroad 12.5 miles north to Kirkland Log Boom Park.
We started our walk at Gas Works Park to U Village (one of my fave destinations!) by way of the Burke Gilman Trail. Here is a little history of the trail;
Born as a Railroad
In 1885 Judge Thomas Burke, Daniel Gilman and ten other investors set out to establish a Seattle-based railroad so that the young city might win a place among major transportation centers and reap the economic benefits of trade. Their plan was to start along today's Burke-Gilman Trail route and go north to Sumas and connect with the Canadian Transcontinental line. Their Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railroad, though it never got past Arlington, Washington, was a major regional line serving Puget Sound logging areas. The line was aquired by Northern Pacific in 1913 and continued in fairly heavy use until 1963. The Great Northern, Northern Pacific, and Burlington lines were merged in 1970 to become Burlington Northern Railroad. In 1971 Burlington Northern applied to abandon the line.
A Multiple Use Trail
Citizens quickly recognized the non-motorized transportation and recreational potential in the railroad line and launched a movement to acquire the right-of-way for a public biking and walking trail. Objections from residents living near the proposed trail were overcome and the City of Seattle, the University of Washington and King County cooperated in developing the route. The original 12.1 miles of the trail connecting Seattle's Gas Works Park and King County's Tracy Owen Station in Kenmore were dedicated on August 19, 1978.
The trail was recently extended west through Seattle's Fremont neighborhood to Eighth Avenue NW. The trail also reaches east to Redmond by means of the Samammish River Trail.
A Major Urban Route
The Burke-Gilman Trail is an outstanding success and has been beneficial to the neighborhoods which it passes through. The trail has become a major transportation corridor that serves thousands of commuter and recreational cyclists. It demonstrates that when the proper facilities are provided many people will chose healthy, pollution-free, non-motorized modes of travel.
Once we arrived at U Village, we were ready to eat! We stopped at the QFC which has tons of food choices and after a pit stop, we decided on Sushi. It was nice to sit and relax and restore for the 3 mile walk back to the car. So, for extra fortitude, John treated us to a cone of wonderful Gelate. YUM!
Another great day spent with the people I love, and cherishing the last of summer vacation!