(click to enlarge photos)
With their two daughters, Priscilla and Loyal, Olive and Harry Treat arrived in Seattle in 1904 and promptly built the mansion that famously survives on Queen Anne Hill’s Highland Drive. When they arrived the Treats were rumored to be the richest couple in town. Unquestionably cosmopolitan, they had lived in New York, Chicago, Paris and London before curiously choosing this frontier boomtown.
At thirty-nine, Harry, a graduate of Cornell University and the Harvard Law School, was an energetic capitalist ready to invest, but not downtown. Treat instead purchased a mix of stump land and forest north of Ballard and named it Loyal Heights, after the younger daughter. Treat soon chose the developer’s familiar tools used to promote remote real estate additions. In 1907 he built both a trolley line through the saleable land and an alluring “pleasure park” at the end of the line.
Less than two miles after leaving downtown Ballard, the rails reached the line’s terminus here at Northwest 85th Street, then the city’s northern border, and 32nd Ave. Northwest. Through its last four blocks, the Loyal Heights Line broke through the addition’s conventional grid by way of the surviving diagonal, Loyal Way Northwest. The terminus featured a loop that enabled the trolley to turn around. This northwest corner of Seattle was 300 feet above Puget Sound, and between it and a fine beach below was the steep virgin land that Treat groomed into Golden Gardens Park.
The park name is signed on the banner far right at the rear of the trolley in the featured illustration at the top. The children posing beside it may include one or both of the Treat daughters. And the driver of the carriage on the left may be Treat himself, an avid horseman. To these eyes, at least, the profile of the one holding whip and reins resembles that of a Treat profile found on the Queen Anne Historical Society’s Website. In the photo the developer is shaking hands with Buffalo Bill during the famous showman’s 1915 visit that included a special staging of his Wild West Show for, again, Loyal, the younger daughter.
In more than one posthumous description of Harry Treat as a horseman, it is claimed that “as a tandem and four-in-hand driver he had no superior in the West.” It is a mix of tragedy and irony that he died at the wheel, not the reins. In 1922, while pursuing mining opportunities in Canada, his last interest, Treat attempted to turn his motorcar around on a narrow mountain road and wound up plunging into a precipice.
Anything to add, Paul? Ron Edge has put up a few of his links. Things are working fine at his home. Otherwise here we hope to attend to these gilded pleasures tomorrow. As you know Jean the computer crashed for a few hours earlier this evening. But tomorrow we expect to carry on from the Golden Rule Bazaar, now at the bottom, with a golden hodgepodge.
5 thoughts on “Seattle Now & Then: End of the Line for Golden Gardens”
“The distinguished brick business block at the southeast corner of 32nd Ave. NW and NW 85th Street ”
I think you should mention this building for quite a time housed the Gob Shoppe, one of several Seattle head shops.
As a child I grew up not far from the end of the line. The brick building at one time housed a drug store and soda fountain. We used to go up and down the stairs to the park and then onto the beach via the tunnel under the rail tracks. We could walk the beach from Golden Gardens to Rays Boat House. Too bad that most of it went the way of developers and people with money when they put in the marina.
In the 1950’s, there was a house where the dog park parking lot is now, at Golden Gardens Park, It was lived in by an employee of the city that took care of maintenance of the Beach and Park.. Does anyone know where I could find a picture of the house that was ,maybe, built in the ’30’s or ’40’s. Looked very much like the white board houses of Loyal Heights….
In 1938 a Depression-era work project was to take photos of every property in the city. So there is an invaluable record of what every square inch of the city looked like in 1938. The Washington State archives has all those photos. Accessible to the public.
in the late 60s-late 70s, i lived in Greenwood. I used to frequent the gob shop, always some good music playing. And then cruising the gardens. There was a lot of racing on Seaview Ave. I believe it was closed at night because it got too wild.