Pacific Northwest | November 30, 2003Pacific Northwest MagazineNovember 30, 2003seattletimes.com home
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PREVIOUS ISSUES OF PACIFIC NW


WRITTEN BY PAUL DORPAT

A Jewel Still Shines
Photo
COURTESY OF LAWTON GOWEY
The postage-stamp park bordered by East Denny Way, Maiden Lane East and Madrona Place East is but one of the "emerald jewels" placed in the Denny-Blaine Lake Park Addition by its developers 102 years ago.
Photo
PAUL DORPAT

THE HISTORICAL VIEW looks west across a well-tracked Maiden Lane East to a scene showing two landmarks that have been altered but are still recognizable in the contemporary view. A light dusting of snow defines the dark waters of what was somewhat ambiguously called Denny Blaine Lake Park and the enclosed shelter beyond it.

The contemporary scene shows a larger sweep of the lawn around the pond, and the shelter is largely hidden behind a tree, but part of it can be seen beside Denny Way East on the left. The pond with its fountain — named Minerva for the wife of one of the park's developers, Elbert Blaine — now has a concrete border that barely rises above the water level. The larger ornamental part of the fountain is gone, and only a pipe now emerges from the water.

The shelter was built first as a real-estate office to help Elbert Blaine and Charles Denny sell the lots in their new Denny-Blaine Lake Park Addition after it opened in 1901. After the selling was done, the shelter continued to serve as a covered waiting station for the electric trolley line to Madrona Park. Problems with vandalism were solved in 1924 when both the inner and outer walls were removed, leaving the sturdy shelter as it survives. The sign on the roof with the name of the addition still faces Denny Way. A 1961 proposal to remove it — some thought the sign was confusing — was rejected by the park board.

By then this little park was known better for its hydraulics as the Minerva Fountain and Park. That is what local historian Junius Rochester calls it in his book, "The Last Electric Trolley: Madrona & Denny-Blaine, Seattle, Washington, Neighborhoods."

Paul Dorpat specializes in historical photography and has published several books on early Seattle.

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