Architectural History Tour


Take Your Own Tour Whenever You Like:


  • South Park Neighborhood Center / Old South Park Firehouse (8201 10th Avenue S). The old South Park Fire Station was built in 1919 on property acquired in 1909, soon after South Park incorporated into the City of Seattle. Currently the building serves many functions; as a neighborhood meeting place, food bank, and HQ to South Park’s own ECOSS (Environmental Coalition of South Seattle, a non-profit bunch of do-gooders), to name a few.


  • Montan Boarding House (8112 Dallas Avenue S). The Montan House was built in 1894. The owner / proprietor, Minnie Montan, lived here and ran the boarding house until 1950.A finished basement room with its own fireplace and a hidden separate entrance suggest that the boarding house was used as a speakeasy during the 1920s. The current occupants are only the 3rd owners in 112 years.Minnie’s husband operated a barber shop in the building that now sits on the corner of Dallas Ave and S Southern St (it was moved from Dallas Ave in 1934 where it served as a candy store before being converted into a residence).The building immediately to the north operated as a blacksmith shop until the 1930s, and had its own pier before the Duwamish was dredged and straightened.


  • Duwamish Waterway Park (corner of 10th Avenue S and S Kenyon StreetWhat is now a park was once part of a 10 acre truck garden and turkey farm, and was the site of at least 3 farmhouses. The land was deeded to King County as a gift, but the park is operated by the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation.The Duwamish River was dredged and straightened from 1913 to 1920 in order to allow ocean-going vessels access, and to open up potential industrial sites. Much of the fill came from the Denny Re-grade project at South Lake Union. Today, on a summer day, one can watch salmon jumping at the sides of passing barges.


  • 8th Avenue S Public Access (corner of 8th Avenue S and S Portland Street). This street-end pocket park is slated for a $300,000 makeover by the Port of Seattle. Once the site of a wooden trestle bridge that served a trolley line between South Park and Georgetown. This was South Park’s first bridge. In the latter days of its existence, passengers were let off to walk across rather than risk a collapse from the full weight of the trolley car. It was one of the primary viewpoints for the LIVING BARGE PROJECT!


  • South Park Community Center (8319 8th Avenue S). Formerly known as the South Park Field House, the Community Center was originally built in 1913. The Field House was one of the first recreation buildings constructed by the Seattle Parks Department, and is said, at one time, to have been one of the largest such facilities west of the Mississippi. The ball field was used by a variety of sports organizations, including a Japanese American baseball team, and a martial arts group.The Field House was demolished, and the current facility which borrows some architectural features of the old building – was built in 1989. The Center and playfield are a hub of activity for the community, young and old.


  • Seattle Public Library, South Park Branch (8604 8th Avenue S). A branch library for South Park has been in the works, at least in the minds of local residents, for many years. In the Neighborhood Plan of 1998, a branch library was listed as the top priority for the community. When the Libraries For All bond issue passed in 1998, South Park was left off the list. In response, the community lobbied for funds from the so called Opportunity Fund for a new branch library. After much organizing and lobbying, the Seattle Public Library allocated 2.5 million dollars for a 5000 square foot branch library.Construction began in July of 2005. The new library is expected to open in spring/summer of 2006.


  • Mike’s La Cantina (8601 8th Avenue S). Built in 1908, this structure marked the terminus of the trolley line that crossed the Duwamish River at 8th Avenue S between 1900 and 1910. As of press time no first-hand reports were available as to any significant activities once occurring inside the tavern, but oh, if walls could talk.As recently as 2000, this building was operating as somewhat of a modern-day brothel. However, under new ownership the old gal has been cleaned up, and may one day live again to tell more tales.


  • River City Skate Park (S Cloverdale Street on east side of Hwy 99 overpass). This project for a 10,000 square foot skate park is a grassroots effort of neighborhood activists, Grindline Skateparks, and Sea Mar Community Health Centers. Fundraising is about 1/3 complete. RCSP will be a free of charge, all-concrete park.Construction is targeted for summer of 2006, opening in the fall of 2006. Check out to find out about events, meetings, and upcoming fundraiser shows.


  • Cesar Chavez Park (S Cloverdale Street on west side of Hwy 99 overpass). This park takes inspiration from Cesar Estrada Chavez, who championed the rights of farm workers. In 1997, Sea Mar Community Health Centers was granted stewardship of the property by King County. In 2004, Seattle Parks and Recreation assumed management of the park.Jesus Bautista Moroles, a nationally recognized stone sculptor, donated a sculpture titled “Musical Steles,” comprised of three musical basalt columns fabricated in the South Park neighborhood. Concord elementary students created the painting that is posted at the park.A documentary titled “Seasonal Soil& Singing Stones,” made in 2003, tells the story of Cesar Chavez Park and South Park.Construction of phase two is expected to begin sometime in 2006. Phase two will turn this park from a place that holds sculpture into a sculpture itself with terraced concrete plazas and native plants on the hill slope. Included in the Phase two design is a sculptural metal arbor and a bus shelter.


  • Concord School (723 S Concord Street). Concord School is the third public elementary school in South Park since 1892. (The Brothers School was opened by Belgian Friars in 1892. The old South Park School was located at 12th and Sullivan, and opened in 1907. Both are no longer in existence.)The Concord School was dedicated in January of 1914, and is designed in the Colonial Revival style. The School was remodeled and a wing was added in 2000.


  • Marra Farm. Carmine and Maria Marra purchased this 4 acre farm from Joe Desimone; longtime resident and farmer, and the founder of the Pike Place Market in 1920 on a handshake. The Marras, as with many other Italian American farmers in South Park at the time, were truck farmers who grew their fruit and produce to be sold at the Pike Place Market, among other venues.In the 1970s the family sold the property to King County, with the stipulation that it be preserved as farmland. Today the farm plays host to a variety of groups and functions, including a p-patch, Seattle Youth Garden Works, Lettuce Link, etc.of what was once a thriving agricultural and cultural center in the area.And if you see Fred Marra (Grandson) on your walk, be sure to say hello. If you’re lucky, and he’s in the mood (he often is) you might get some first-hand stories out of him.In 2004, 8.7 acres (including the vacant lot to the east) was transferred from King County to Seattle Parks and Recreation under the Pro-Parks Levy. Marra Farm represents the last vestige of what was once a thriving agricultural and cultural center in the area.And if you see Fred Marra (Grandson) on your walk, be sure to say hello. If you’re lucky, and he’s in the mood (he often is) you might get some first-hand stories out of him.


  • Marra Farmhouse (9017 4th Avenue S). Built in 1909 and purchased by Carmine and Maria Marra in 1919, this was their family farmhouse until the 1980s. The Marras, like many of their neighbors, were truck farmers who grew their fruit and produce locally then transported it to markets in other parts of the City and County, most notably the Pike Place Market.The Marra House was somewhat of a center and gathering place for the local Italian farming community. Grandma Maria’s kitchen was known throughout the community for its warmth and generous hospitality. After a period of neglect and disrepair, the house has been given a new lease on life by its current owner.


  • Lost Fork Hamm Creek (east end of Marra Farm). Hamm Creek was named after Dietrich Hamm, a German immigrant who lived in the area from 1887 until his death in 1918. Hamm was one of the principal players in the dredging and straightening of the Duwamish River.This portion of the Creek, which ultimately flows into the Duwamish River, was once buried in a culvert. Due in large part to the activism and diligence of our own Mr. John Beal (and his I’m a Pal organization), this piece of the stream was restored in 2000.Unbelievable as it may seem, soon after the creek was daylighted salmon were seen looking for places to spawn. John (and others) has played a large roll in helping to restore and preserve streams and other (once) natural areas throughout the Duwamish watershed.


  • Querio House (south end of 7th Avenue S). The Querio House (locally known by some as the Hat House or Witches Hat House) was built in 1908, and was owned by Peter Querio a truck farmer who sold his fruit and produce at the Pike Place Market. The house was given Historical Designation on November 3, 2004 after the Landmarks Board found that the house embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style, period, or of a method of construction. It is the only known example of an Indian Bungalow type in all of Washington State. After receiving historical designation (saving it from demolition) the house was moved down 7th Avenue S to its current location.


  • Donovan Street House (838 S Donovan Street). In contrast to the Querio House, this house represents some of the new directions of architecture and residential living in South Park. Inspired in part by the industrial, working class character of the neighborhood, the Donovan Street House boasts several green or sustainable features, such as recycled finishes, a water catchment system, and a partially planted roof.Additional inspiration may have come from the neighboring house to the west, from which occasional bugle calls can be heard.


  • South Park Hall (8613 14th Avenue S). Constructed in 1927, South Park Hall was once a center of community activity. The ground floor housed businesses such as a beauty shop and a hardware store, while the open, expansive upper floor played host to dances and meetings.


  • South Park Bridge (14th Avenue S at the Duwamish River). The first bridge at the current location was a wooden drawbridge that rotated horizontally around a center pivot pillar. The current bridge was dedicated in March, 1931. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is the only (barely) working example of a Scherzer Rolling-Lift bascule bridge in the State of Washington.The South Park Bridge has the dubious distinction of scoring lower than the Alaskan Way Viaduct with regard to its potential for damage and/or collapse in a future earthquake.After many years of talk, there is currently a plan to replace the bridge with a new bascule drawbridge… pending funding, of course.


  • Boeing Plant 2 (Not technically in South Park, but a major part of its history). Plant 2 was built in 5 major phases between 1936 and 1942. With almost 500,000 square feet of floor space, the new factory was one of the largest industrial facilities in the world.Plant 2 manufactured B-17 bombers during most of WWII, and was converted in 1944 for the production of B-29 bombers. During the war, a false neighborhood complete with fake houses, streets, trees, and cars was built on the roof as camouflage against potential enemy bombing raids.The rise (and fall and rise and fall and rise…) of Boeing played a large role in shaping the South Park Neighborhood (as well as the rest of the City and State) in the mid to late 20th Century.


  • Brick Road Memorial (north end of 14th Avenue S). This remnant marks the northern terminus – and is all that remains – of the landscaped memorial boulevard from the Duwamish River to Tacoma.It is one of the few surviving stretches of unpaved brick roadway remaining in King County. The Boulevard was constructed to commemorate the fallen soldiers of WW I. (The memorial route follows Des Moines Memorial Drive.)The elm trees that once lined the road as far as Des Moines were (almost) all killed by the outbreak of Dutch Elm Disease. This remnant also marks the landing point of the original 14th Avenue bridge (as well as the future bridge, when completed).
South Park Arts