David Rogers Park – 2800 1st Ave W

David Rogers Playfield, 1935
David Rogers Playfield, 1935

The north slope of Queen Anne hill containing Queen Anne Bowl and David Rodgers Park was homesteaded by Nils Peterson. Peterson made his living excavating gravel from the glacial remains there. Real Estate Broker Benjamin Franklin “B. F.” Day bought the Rodgers Park section and deeded it to the City in 1883. At the time, this area at the northern end of Queen Anne Hill was beyond the northern limits of the city at West McGraw Street. However, B.F. Day apparently intended for the five-acre parcel to be used for park purposes and noted its panoramic view of mountain and water scenery.

Within ten years, this area was annexed by the city in the 1891 “North Seattle Annexation.” Despite Day’s intentions, the land was not transferred to the jurisdiction of the Parks Department until 1908. The transfer may have been occasioned by the implementation of the Olmsted Brothers’ recommendations for the development of a comprehensive park and boulevard system for Seattle. In 1903, the city had hired the Olmsted Brothers to develop a comprehensive plan for parks, boulevards and playgrounds in Seattle. This move was largely brought on by the public interest generated for the planned Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and through the purchase of Woodland Park and the acquisition of Washington Park, two large tracts of mostly undeveloped land. In 1908, the plan was supplemented by an additional report, which included the extensive areas of the city annexed the previous year. The Olmsted Brothers identified the donated parcel as the “Queen Anne Tract” in their plans and recommended its development for park purposes. In 1909, the city purchased the south half of the property and named the new park, Evergreen Park, after its beautiful grove of evergreen trees. By this time, the city had already developed the B.F. Day Playground adjacent to the school of the same name in Fremont. In the early 1890s, Day and his wife, Frances, had donated land for a new public elementary school, which was built in 1892.

David Rogers Playfield, 1935
David Rogers Playfield, 1935

Initially, the only improvements made were the clearing of underbrush, the opening of paths, and the construction of rustic seats. A 1915 Health Department recommendation for a new comfort station was not satisfied until 1920 when a new wood frame building was constructed with a proper sewer connection. The previous year, the Workingmen’s Committee of the Skinner & Eddy Corporation, a shipbuilding firm, had donated $2,000 to the city to honor their recently retired manager, David Rodgers. As a result, the Parks Department renamed Evergreen Park as David Rodgers Park.

Source: Historical Site database