COWEN'S UNIVERSITY PARK, "A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever." Keats

Having printed this week’s Pacific Northwest feature on Cowen Park already last week (the third and fourth features below), we offer here a page from developer Charles Cowen’s promotional booklet with the title we have used above – with Keats and the rest.  And we have also included here his map of both the park he had then freshly donated to the city and his addition, which he hoped to sell to its citizens lot by lot – and did.

We chose the page titled, “Some of the Reasons Why Cowen’s University Park is Such Desirable Property” for its sometimes amusing “reasons.”  The proposal that Seattle would reach a census population of 500,000 by 1910 was about two times too ambitious.  Still Cowen sold his lots.


And the map.  In the booklet it is folded and attached to the back inside cover of the booklet.  The path of the stream may be a bit fanciful in its drawing, but it is probably close to the correct course the Green Lake outlet took on its way to Lake Washington’s Union Bay.  (We have “printed” this somewhat large so it may take a bit longer for some computers to load/show it.)

[click to enlarge]


5 thoughts on “COWEN'S UNIVERSITY PARK, "A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever." Keats”

  1. No intoxicants within two miles of the UW! I thought it was one mile, hence the location of the Duchess and Blue Moon. Any idea when the limit was brought down to one mile?

    What’s the date on these, by the way?

  2. Typically these promo chapbooks published by developers are not dated, but then maps are often the same: dateless. The producers of these documents thereby lend them an aspect of eternity, or the chance of not repelling a reader with last year’s date. But 1906 is the likely year for Cowen’s little book because that is the date associated with his unveiling or introduction of his addition and the year also he gave the park to the city. As for the University District and booze-boundaries – I once knew but no longer know and now don’t care either, for it seems that one can now drink anywhere and even in dangerous places like the upper floors of fraternity houses where impetuous youth have sometimes tested their eternity by falling out of windows and off of balconies. The incidence of these mishaps is, it seems, considerably more commonplace than those legendary acid trips taken by Bob and Betty student that encouraged them to fly.

  3. I remember Cowen Park before it was filled not long after the “Ravenna Cave-in” of 1958. It was, in my opinion, the most beautiful place in the entire ravine. The stream meandered very with rather steep grassy slopes that were dotted with deciduous trees (I think some were small oaks but I could be wrong) in the 1950s when I frequented the place. Already, the ravine to the West of Brooklyn had been filled and houses were built prior to my exploration of the area. I would have to describe Cowen Park as serene and tranquil in those days. As one follwed the meandering path, the view around the next curve would be partially blocked, given the sense of greater isolation. I was very sad to witness this beautiful spot being filled and made level with Brooklyn Ave. The fill also made an ugly mess of the transition down to the remaining ravine immediately West of the 15th Ave NE bridge.

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