Seattle Now & Then: End of the Line for Golden Gardens

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN:  A circa 1908 look northeast through the terminus of the Loyal Electric Street Railway line at the corner of now Northwest 85th Street, 32nd Ave. Northwest, and Loyal Way Northwest.  (Courtesy, the Museum of History and Industry)
THEN: A circa 1908 look northeast through the terminus of the Loyal Electric Street Railway line at the corner of now Northwest 85th Street, 32nd Ave. Northwest, and Loyal Way Northwest. (Courtesy, the Museum of History and Industry)
NOW: The city purchased the Loyal Heights trolley line in 1918, and then in 1923 purchased Golden Gardens Park.  The distinguished brick business block at the southeast corner of 32nd Ave. NW and NW 85th Street was built in 1928 and is home for both the Caffe Fiore, at the corner, and seen here across Loyal Way, since 2003 the also popular Cocina Esperanza.
NOW: The city purchased the Loyal Heights trolley line in 1918, and then in 1923 purchased Golden Gardens Park. The distinguished brick business block at the southeast corner of 32nd Ave. NW and NW 85th Street was built in 1928 and is home for both the Caffe Fiore, at the corner, and seen here across Loyal Way, since 2003 the also popular Cocina Esperanza.

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.

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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.

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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.

A Times short Aug. 21, 1911 report on a planed Press Club Barn Dance at Treat's Golden Gardens.
A Times short Aug. 21, 1911 report on a planed Press Club Barn Dance at Treat’s Golden Gardens.
The Time July 7, 1921 report on the Southerners - one thousand of them! - plans to picnic at Golden Gardens.
The Time July 7, 1921 report on the Southerners – one thousand of them! – plans to picnic at Golden Gardens.
Works Progress Administration (WPA) depresson-time construction of steps to the Golden Gardens beach.  (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)
Works Progress Administration (WPA) depresson-time construction of steps to the Golden Gardens beach. (Courtesy, Municipal Archive)

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.

A Times front page for July 31, 1922 report on the death of Harry Treat.
A Times front page for July 31, 1922 report on the death of Harry Treat.

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.

MEADOW  POINT

Golden Gardens beach with Meadows Point beyond.  (Courtesy, MOHAI)
Golden Gardens beach with Meadows Point beyond. (Courtesy, MOHAI)
The beach a few years past.
The beach a few years past.
"Pleasure Meadows" as it appeared in The Times.
“Pleasure Meadows” as it appeared in The Times.

WEB EXTRAS

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.

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THEN: Looking east from the roof of the still standing testing lab, the Lock’s Administration Building (from which this photograph was borrowed) appears on the left, and the district engineer’s home, the Cavanaugh House (still standing) on the center horizon. (Photo courtesy Army Corps of Engineers at Chittenden Locks)

One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: End of the Line for Golden Gardens”

  1. “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.

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